- Author: Brent Hales
Saturday was truly a great night at the Orange County Farm Bureau Steak Fry. The Steak Fry was held on Nov. 4 at Tanaka Farms in Irvine to raise funds for 4-H, FFA and various local colleges' ag education programs. That includes South Coast REC's GROW program, which is designed to make agricultural experiences accessible to more young people across the region and introduce them to careers opportunities in agriculture. Orange County Farm Bureau also provided a small donation to the UCCE Master Food Preserver program in Orange County.
It was great to spend an evening with my UC ANR colleagues. I saw Research & Extension Center director Darren Haver, Rita Jakel, 4-H community education specialist; Colleen Clemens, UC Master Food Preserver Program coordinator; and Araceli Hernandez, 4-H region 11 program supervisor.
I felt so proud sitting with the other people attending the Orange County Farm Bureau Steak Fry listening to the four young women from Orange County share examples of how they improved their lives by participating in 4-H club activities, public speaking, leadership events, etc. They were amazing.
The following day, I had the pleasure of attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new USDA Research Center in Salinas.
It was an honor to participate in the ribbon cutting for the Sam Farr United States Crop Improvement and Protection Research Center. The research center is dedicated to retired Congressman Sam Farr, who represented California's Central Coast in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2017.
USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Chavonda Jacobs-Young, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta as well as Farr spoke.
"This new center is going to ensure that our farmers, our ag workers, our ag leaders, that they benefit from the latest knowledge in cutting edge technology in agriculture," said Robert Rivas, California Assembly speaker.
The new research center features state-of-the-art laboratories, greenhouses and the capacity to accommodate additional scientists. It expands on the current ARS Crop Improvement and Protection Research Laboratory, which houses many of our USDA-Agricultural Research Station partners such as Daniel Hasegawa, who has worked closely with Richard Smith, emeritus UCCE vegetable crops advisor, on impatiens necrotic spot virus, a disease that infects lettuce. Our own UC Cooperative Extension weed specialist Steve Fennimore, who is affiliated with UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, has an office in the ARS building.
As a congressman, Farr served on the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies and has been an advocate for agriculture. He is also a longtime supporter of UC Cooperative Extension.
- Author: Mike Hsu
Con el incendio McKinney acercándose sigilosamente a Yreka en el verano de 2022, Emily Jackson y su madre se enfrentaron a la enorme tarea de poner a salvo a todas sus cabras, pollos, perros y gatos, mientras el padre de Emily y su hermana gemela Lindsay estaban fuera luchando contra el fuego.
Afortunadamente, Emily y Lindsay habían adquirido conocimientos cruciales sobre la evacuación de animales a través de un proyecto de aprendizaje-servicio de 4-H que ayudaron a dirigir en 2018. Un grupo de ocho jóvenes de 4-H, de entre 14 y 18 años, había creado un folleto de "Plan de evacuación de emergencia para mascotas" (PEEP, ), destinado a educar a sus vecinos del condado de Siskiyou sobre los preparativos necesarios para el ganado y las mascotas.
El folleto, disponible en el sitio web del condado de Siskiyou, sigue utilizándose hoy en día en esta región densamente boscosa que este verano ha sufrido una nueva oleada de incendios forestales. El proyecto PEEP estaba formado por Kylie Daws, Emily Jackson, Lindsay Jackson, Will Morris, Madison Restine, Maryssa Rodriguez, Emily Smith y Callahan Zediker.
En aquellas estresantes horas de 2022, cuando el incendio de McKinney provocó una advertencia de evacuación durante la cual los residentes podían verse obligados a abandonar el lugar en cualquier momento, Emily Jackson dijo que ella y su madre tenían un plan en marcha, todo gracias a su trabajo en el proyecto PEEP.
"En aquel momento, ni siquiera se me pasaba por la cabeza", dijo Jackson, "pero ahora, mirando hacia atrás, sé que la experiencia de haber hecho ese folleto fue lo que impulsó mi proceso de pensamiento en aquel momento".
Y aunque finalmente no se pidió a la familia Jackson y a sus vecinos que evacuaran en 2022, muchos miembros de la comunidad se han beneficiado de los cientos de ejemplares del folleto PEEP en circulación, que invita a los residentes a pensar al menos en lo que necesitarían sus animales en caso de emergencia, dijo Jackson.
Se necesitaban consejos para la evacuación de mascotas y ganado
Según Jacki Zediker, coordinadora del programa regional 4-H en el condado de Siskiyou y asesora del grupo del proyecto PEEP, hasta ahora no existía un recurso de este tipo entre los materiales de preparación para emergencias del condado.
"Una pieza que faltaba era cómo ayudar a nuestras comunidades a entender que cuando evacuan, y se llevan a sus mascotas con ellos... no es tan simple como llevarse a sus mascotas con ellos", dijo Zediker, citando el ejemplo de que algunos refugios no aceptan animales - o no aceptan animales sin prueba de vacunación.
Otros elementos que hay que añadir al kit de emergencia de la mascota son comida para varios días, agua, medicamentos, artículos de confort o juguetes y fotos recientes del dueño con su animal (prueba de propiedad).
Zediker había puesto en contacto a los jóvenes con Jodi Aceves, subcomisario senior de agricultura/sellador del condado de Siskiyou, que había estado supervisando los programas de Control Animal del condado y la respuesta de emergencia.
"Hay mucha información para la evacuación de personas, pero no necesariamente para el ganado y las mascotas", explica Aceves. "Por desgracia, hemos tenido algunos incendios en los que se perdieron muchas mascotas y ganado".
Se reunió varias veces con el grupo 4-H, discutiendo los sistemas y procesos de evacuación del condado y el papel de la Oficina de Servicios de Emergencia y las fuerzas del orden, y compartiendo consideraciones clave en la preparación para emergencias - como tener un preacuerdo con alguien que podría albergar a los animales de un evacuado.
Aceves elogió a los adolescentes por resumir la información vital en un folleto breve y sencillo que los miembros de la comunidad pudieran leer y recordar fácilmente. También se mostró impresionada por la energía y el verdadero interés que los jóvenes pusieron en el proyecto.
"La mayor parte de sus vidas, todos los veranos, han estado en el fuego", dijo Aceves. "Lo llevan en el corazón, y han visto a muchos de sus vecinos y a otras personas del condado afectados por el fuego o evacuados en algún momento".
"Mi padre era jefe de bomberos voluntarios del Cuerpo de Bomberos de South Yreka; llevaba en ello desde que yo tenía dos o tres años, así que crecí viéndole ir a los cursos de formación, acudir a una llamada", explica. "Cuando tenía 15 años, me uní al cuerpo de bomberos como cadete para ayudar en la parte médica, pero cuanto más me ofrecía como voluntaria, más me gustaba también la parte del fuego".
Jackson añadió que Zediker tiene un don especial para cultivar y fomentar los intereses de los participantes en el programa 4-H y aplicarlos de forma productiva.
"Jacki era muy buena descubriendo cuáles eran nuestras pasiones y cómo podíamos plasmarlas en un proyecto de aprendizaje-servicio", dijo. "Ella sabía que a mí me gustaba mucho el fuego y ayudar a la comunidad de esa manera desde que era joven".
Zediker también ayudó a los gemelos Jackson en su proyecto de fin de carrera, un día de campo sobre seguridad contra incendios en la estación de bomberos de South Yreka. Más de 100 escolares aprendieron nociones básicas de seguridad contra incendios, conocieron a bomberos y personal de emergencias y oyeron hablar del programa 4-H a Lindsay y Emily.
Las experiencias 4-H y la tutoría inspiran carreras profesionales
Varias organizaciones también pidieron al grupo del proyecto PEEP que compartiera sus conocimientos sobre preparativos de emergencia para animales. Además de presentar un póster sobre su trabajo en la conferencia 4-H California Focus en 2018, el grupo repartió el folleto y compartió información en una mesa durante un taller del Juniper Flat Fire Safe Council y una feria de recursos.
Más allá de distribuir el folleto PEEP en reuniones de clubes 4-H, eventos escolares y reuniones comunitarias, los jóvenes han prestado sus voces para abogar por recursos de emergencia para animales. Zediker señaló que aportaron testimonios que ayudaron al condado a conseguir subvenciones para comprar más perreras portátiles.
Sin embargo, el impacto más duradero de la participación en el programa 4-H y del servicio comunitario es que esas experiencias sirvieron de trampolín para las carreras de los jóvenes adultos. Emily Jackson, que participó en el programa 4-H desde los 5 hasta los 19 años, cursa ahora un máster en biología en Cal Poly Humboldt, donde estudia cómo la extinción de incendios y otros factores han cambiado las comunidades vegetales de la zona silvestre rusa.
Ya sea formando a colegas como jefe de cuadrilla del Servicio Forestal de EE. UU. durante los dos últimos veranos, o dirigiendo secciones de laboratorio de botánica general como estudiante de posgrado, Jackson dice que se inspira en sus experiencias en el 4-H -y en el ejemplo inspirador de Zediker- para seguir una carrera en la enseñanza.
"No puedo exagerar el papel tan importante que Jacki ha desempeñado en mi desarrollo como joven adulta", afirma Jackson.
Su hermana Lindsay, por su parte, ha perseguido su pasión por el fuego hasta llegar a la academia de bomberos del College of the Siskiyous, donde también obtuvo su licencia de técnico en emergencias médicas (EMT). Jackson ha trabajado recientemente en incendios cerca de Pondosa, en el condado de Siskiyou, y ha sido bombera estacional en la estación CAL FIRE de McCloud desde 2020.
"Es difícil porque, en los últimos tres años, no he salido del condado de Siskiyou, ha habido tantos incendios aquí", dijo. "Pero es agradable poder ayudar a tu comunidad y saber que estás marcando la diferencia".
Lindsay Jackson tiene la intención de cursar una licenciatura en estudios de liderazgo en Cal Poly Humboldt con la esperanza de conseguir un puesto a tiempo completo en CAL FIRE.
- Author: Mike Hsu
If you're on a video call with Glenda Humiston when she's in her home office, you'll see the sign right above her left shoulder, prominently displayed: “4-H CLUB MEMBER LIVES HERE.”
It's the same sign that hung on her childhood home in Mancos, Colorado, in the remote southwest corner of the state. And the sign is a symbol of the influential role 4-H has played in the life and career path of Humiston, University of California's vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
“I asked if I could have it, and my dad was like, ‘Yeah, sure, I think it belongs with you' – which really annoyed my sisters, quite frankly,” she said with a laugh. “But I love having it.”
Humiston – and all four of her younger sisters – were active in 4-H during the late 1960s and 1970s. Joining the Mancos club as soon as she was able to, at roughly nine years of age, Humiston participated through high school. She even did collegiate 4-H at Colorado State University.
For National 4-H Week (Oct. 1–7), Humiston – who leads UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, the umbrella organization under which California 4-H operates – sat down for an interview about the profound impact of 4-H on her life.
You started out by showing dairy cattle and beef cattle, but you quickly broadened the scope of your 4-H experience. What else did you do in 4-H?
I did a lot of projects, not just showing the livestock – I did veterinary sciences; I did demonstration talks; I did conservation; I did woodworking. In fact, I got Reserve Grand Champion at the Colorado State Fair in woodworking one year. I made a tack box for showing livestock; I did some inlaid imagery in it. I also did a nice piece that I donated to the National 4-H Center in D.C. that, for many years, was their big artwork in the lobby that you see when you enter. [See photo at right.]
I also really enjoyed public speaking; I competed in that. Part of that was strategic – everybody turns in beef or something like that, and not very many kids were doing record books on public speaking, so I thought it gave me better odds. [Record books are kept by 4-H participants to document their progress on a project and can be submitted for competitions.]
I actually have one of my speeches about being an environmentalist when I was quite young. A little ahead of my time there. My mother said I was a very preachy child – and that was one of the times that I was!
Of the many wonderful experiences you had, what are some of your favorite aspects and memories of 4-H?
I really love the record book. I think that's one of the things about 4-H that makes it different than a lot of other youth programs. We were taught to keep a record – particularly important for showing market animals – including accounting and keeping our books: like how much did we spend on that animal and on feed and equipment. At a young age, you're learning a lot of life skills that way.
And things like the community engagement, the public speaking, these are all important skills that you just don't get unless you're out there actually doing something with it. Sitting in a classroom is not the same.
How did 4-H open your eyes to the possibility of college?
As a young person, I wasn't even thinking about college so much – I like to say that one of the reasons I even thought about going to college was 4-H, because we used to go to the Colorado State University campus in the summer for the state 4-H conference. Staying in the dorms, wandering around the campus and having the meetings there – meeting kids from all over the state – it made me feel like, “Wow, I could do this!”
I'm the first one in my family ever to go to college, and there just wasn't anybody in the family to talk about what that involved or what it looked like or anything.
That's why nowadays I think our “Juntos” program is so important. I love that we take Latino kids to a UC campus. I think the numbers I've seen are at the beginning of the week, something like 20% of them think they might go to college, and at the end of the week it's jumped to something like 80 or 90%. It makes a big difference, having the chance to see and feel.
How have you seen 4-H evolve and change, and how will it continue to adapt to the times?
I love the fact that we're doing these SPIN clubs – these special projects that are a little shorter term. I think that's a great evolution. Not every family in this day and age can sign up for the whole-year, club program. That's a lot for parents to take on being volunteers and project leaders.
Having the in-school and after-school options and six-week and nine-week options opens it up to a lot more kids. And frankly if we can get them interested in the short-term special projects, then maybe they will join the club program.
I love the fact, too, that 4-H really tries to be inclusive. 4-H has really been always very inclusive; I actually was invited to be a keynote speaker at a conference in Ohio – at The Ohio State University – about four years ago. Several states got together to talk about LGBTQ 4-H kids and youth, what were the challenges they were facing and how we were serving them. I thought it was fantastic that Ohio State and these other universities put on that event; conversations were mostly about making sure those youth felt safe participating in 4-H. It's vital that we all strive to ensure that 4-H is for everybody.
Now we would like to hear from you, 4-Hers! Tell us how 4-H has made an impact in your life, and share a favorite memory or two, by posting in the Comments box at the bottom of this story./h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
- Author: Mike Hsu
Between 4th and 8th grade, Brent Hales had acquired from those years in 4-H a lifetime's worth of skills, a group of lifelong friends, an expanded perspective on the world – and the track suit of his dreams.
The middle child of seven kids, young Brent knew his family couldn't afford to buy a track suit off the rack. So he saved up money, bought the Navy blue fabric and pattern, and took on sewing as one of his many 4-H projects during the 1980s. Just one problem: he ended up making it inside-out, with the fuzzy side facing outward.
“And then, by the time I actually completed it, I had outgrown it, so I gave it to my younger brother,” Hales recalled with a laugh.
Hales still enjoys sewing, although he rarely finds time for it, given his many duties as UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' associate vice president for research and Cooperative Extension.
One of his responsibilities is helping to oversee the 4-H program in California, which, along with its counterparts across the country, is celebrating National 4-H Week Oct. 1–7. In a recent interview, Hales shared some of his favorite experiences as a 4-H club member growing up in Aurora, Utah, as well as some of the enduring impacts from his participation.
The mere mention of 4-H must bring back a torrent of memories, images and stories. Can you share one experience that stands out for you?
At the end of the summers, the leader of our horse club, Dan Thompson, would take us on a weeklong horse ride. In order to qualify, you had to demonstrate horsemanship, you had to be able to take care of your horse, and show a certain amount of leadership.
Dan had the kids take the lead; he planned the route but then he would ride in the back. Each day of the horse ride, we would take turns at various aspects of leadership within the week. We would get to a point and we would discuss where we were going; we would discuss points along the trail that we needed to be looking for. But, invariably, all with him in the back, allowing us to lead. He wanted us to lead the whole thing.
You could imagine sending a group of 11-, 12-, 13-year-old kids on a weeklong horse ride with a guy would be daunting enough. But the most important thing you need to understand is the amount of trust that we had in him, he had in us, and our parents had in him – because Dan was blind.
He had gone blind late in life. He knew the trails well enough that he could describe what we were going to see, and he could describe where we were going to stay, but he left it up to us to share information and lead.
You think about the types of skills that it taught us – I have cold chills thinking about that – and the confidence that it instilled in us was so powerful. In a community where less than half of the kids went on to a four-year degree program, all 11 of us in the horse club completed four-year degrees, and all of us are continuing to be very successful.
In addition to leadership skills, public-speaking skills, sewing skills and horsemanship…what else did 4-H teach you?
We actually got involved quite a bit in the arts – the visual arts, the performing arts. Because of that, I went to college on a vocal performance scholarship, which I tie right back to 4-H.
We put on an annual musical at the county fair, which translated to being involved in musicals at school and other performing groups. It paved the way for me to go to a much better school than probably was in my academic trajectory otherwise, so I went to BYU as an undergrad.
I realized very quickly how out-classed I was in terms of the vocal performance and ultimately changed majors – but I stayed involved and had the opportunity to do quite a bit of traveling and touring with various musical groups. In the last three years, I've sang at both Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, as part of ensembles and groups. What a long tail my 4-H involvement has had, in encouraging my love of music and of performing!
In what other ways did 4-H shape who you are today, personally and in your career trajectory?
My hometown of Aurora was settled by my fourth great-grandfather, so I was actually related to about 85% of that small town. And so I had a very myopic view of what the world looked like.
What 4-H did was it showed me that there's a much larger world out there. Because of 4-H, I engaged with different kids from different backgrounds, different ideologies, different life expectations than that of my own. And it opened a world I never knew existed, number one, and that I had a place in that world.
So the thought of moving from my safe, rural community…when I was a little kid, that was the last thing that I wanted. But after engaging with kids from not just across Utah, not just across the country, but across the world, it created a hunger in me to learn and to know and to experience. And that has yet to be satisfied!
Every time I remember and relive my 4-H years, I'm reminded of why I do this job – to enable others, perhaps, to be that kid that I was, and see beyond what their worldview is, or the limitations of their culture, identity and hometown.
On top of your 4-H role as a part of the leadership team at UC ANR, you're also on the strategic planning board for the national 4-H organization. How has 4-H continued to evolve over the years?
With COVID, when I was at Penn State, we shifted online and we saw a whole new generation of kids who would not have ever joined 4-H as a result. We created statewide programs, instead of the traditional clubs, and that brought together kids who normally would not have been drawn to it. And instead of meeting face-to-face, we met virtually and we sent out activity boxes ahead of time. Then, post-COVID, what surprised us is that the online clubs – the clubs we kind of anticipated going away – those actually continued to grow.
So how we reach the kids has evolved as much as the type of kids that we are seeing come in. And it has had to – if we marketed 4-H to an ever-shrinking rural population of on-farm kids, it would quickly become irrelevant. And so the way we market to them, the way we bring them in, the way we encourage and facilitate discussion, the way topics and areas of interest are identified – those continue to evolve and I hope will drive the next iteration of what 4-H looks like. Because it doesn't look anything like what I grew up with – granted, that was a long time ago, over 40 years ago! And I would say in 10 years 4-H probably won't look like what it looks like now. And that's a good thing./h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
- Author: Saoimanu Sope
National 4-H Council today (Sept. 29, 2023) announced that Michaela Auyeung of Los Gatos, is a runner-up for the 2024 4-H Youth in Action Award. Auyeung is recognized nationally for her commitment to providing STEM access and improving mental and physical well-being for girls in her community.
Auyeung, 17, provides free coding classes and instruction to girls through her program, Girls Who Love to Code. Through partnerships with two school systems, Girls Who Love to Code has engaged more than 250 girls while seeking to close the opportunity and education gap for girls in STEM. Auyeung also provided mental health workshops to aid students in addressing anxiety and created two school pantries to provide hygiene items, school supplies, and snacks to students in need. A senior in high school, Auyeung plans to continue to advocate for gender and socioeconomic equality in education through her outreach and beyond.
The 4-H Youth in Action Awards began in 2010 to recognize 4-H'ers who have overcome challenges and used the knowledge they gained in 4-H to create a lasting impact in their community. To learn more about the 4-H Youth in Action program and the 2024 runners-up, please visit http://4-H.org/YouthInAction.
4-H, the nation's largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for career tomorrow. 4-H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation's Cooperative Extension System and USDA, and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3,000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4-H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4-H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.
Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.org, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4-H and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/4H. To learn more about the California 4-H Program, visit: https://4h.ucanr.edu/.