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Posts Tagged: 4-H

Ironstone Vineyards hosts 4-H/FFA fundraiser

June Coleman, California 4-H Foundation Board member, visited with 4-H'er Lily from Amador County.

More than 3,000 people attended the Ironstone Concours d'Elegance, a fundraiser supportingFFA and 4-H, on Sept. 24. Vice President GlendaHumiston; Mary Ciricillo, UCANR director of development; Carolyn Warne, California 4-H Foundation director; JoLynn Miller, UC Cooperative Extension director for the Central Sierra; and 4-H Foundation members were among the attendees of the event, which benefits Central and Northern California youth in agriculture.

"I enjoyed the event and talking with 4-Hers about their projects,” June Coleman, California 4-H Foundation Board member, said. “As a 4-H volunteer who is also a licensed rabbit judge, it was particularly fun to talk with Lily, a 4-H youth from Amador County, who will be competing in the upcoming 99th national American Rabbit Breeders Association Convention.”

Former California 4-H Foundation board member and 4-H leader Gail Kautz and her husband, John, own Ironstone Vineyards, which hosted the annual event. The event supports 4-H at the statewide level for the State Leadership Conference and local 4-H programs in El Dorado, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Tuolumne and surrounding counties.  

The Ironstone Concours d'Elegance is an antique and classic car show held each September at Ironstone Vineyards near Murphys. More than 300 antique and classic cars participate. The event also features vintage trailers, house cars, antique trucks and motorcycles, race cars and wooden boats. Honored guests from the old-car hobby and the auto industry regularly participate in the show, which was first held in 1993. 


Tuolumne County Supervisor Jaron Brandon and Glenda Humiston admire classic cars.
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2022 at 1:13 PM

UCCE advisor John Borba retires after 30-year career helping youth in Kern County

John Borba

John Borba, UC Cooperative Extension Kern County's 4-H youth development advisor, retired on July 1. For over 20 years, Borba has been key to the success of the 4-H program in Kern County, which affords young people an opportunity to test and strengthen their leadership skills while finding and building community.

Borba began working with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1992 as the 4-H program representative for Tulare County. In 1999 he relocated to Oregon to work as an advisor for Oregon State University's Extension team before returning to California in Kern County in 2000.

For 30 years, Borba has focused on improving the lives of young people.

“I appreciated many things about John,” said Marianne Bird, 4-H youth development advisor for Sacramento County. “He was never the ‘sage on the stage,' but rather a thoughtful, competent partner who led from behind. And I loved to watch him teach – asking questions, engaging his audience, enthusiastic about his topic. He was an excellent teacher.”

Bird and Borba worked closely together, supporting and developing statewide 4-H camp programs for 15 years.

“He helped lead an amazing team of 4-H staff, volunteers, youth and academics in some of the most rewarding work of my career,” Bird said.

Together, Bird and Borba prioritized program improvement by presenting research findings at national and international camp conferences, conducting eight statewide conferences, developing camp safety and risk management resources, and authoring two books.

Among the 4-H activities offered in Kern County, Borba oversaw Operation Military Kids for children whose parents were deployed by the National Guard and the Reserves, connecting them with resources, social enrichment, recreational activities and educational opportunities.

To attract more Latino youth, families and volunteers into 4-H, Borba and his 4-H colleagues developed culturally relevant programs. As a result, the number of Latino youth participating in the 4-H program increased more than 250% in three years. The National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals recognized the achievement with its Diversity & Inclusion: Expanding the 4-H Audience Award in 2021.


Borba, far right, teaching youth in the outdoors.

“Of the many programs, research projects, and activities that John led, it was his dedication to the Shooting Sports Program that had the most impact on and created significant impact for the youth and families who participated,” said Russell Hill, associate 4-H youth development advisor for Madera and Mariposa counties.

Borba's support resulted in the program – which promotes safety sportsmanship and ethical behavior – serving more than 4,500 youth annually with at least 16 hours of instruction to the more than 1,000 volunteers throughout his tenure. 

“John really took the Shooting Sports program to a level of coordination, improved training and volunteer development, and tracking of data,” Hill said.

While his work focused on youth, Borba's leadership and positive impact were felt among his colleagues as well. Borba, who earned an M.S. in human resources from Chapman University, contributed greatly to the workplace environment and culture.

“I am grateful for being able to work with and for John Borba as the director and advisor in this office for 10 years,” said Carol Heaton, Kern County 4-H office support technician. “It is without question that he treats everyone the same way: direct, considerate, honorable, with understanding and compassion. All this with a keen sense of humor. He is someone I look up to.”

Sue McKinney, 4-H program representative, agreed and added that Borba is the best supervisor she has ever had. 

“He was always quick to share his knowledge,” McKinney said. “In everything he did you could see his deep dedication to the 4-H program. He will be greatly missed by everyone in this office.”

Southwest 4-H Leader Amy Andrews notes that 4-H youth and leaders in Kern County will surely miss Borba's presence too.

“John Borba is a kind, helpful and caring person towards each and every person, whether they are in 4-H or not,” Andrews said.

In retirement, Borba, who has received the prestigious emeritus status from UC ANR, will continue to serve young people by developing a 4-H Avian Embryology Program. It is expected to launch in 2023.

“The goal of this program is to serve as an outreach tool for the Kern County 4-H program and the University of California. It has the potential to reach thousands of youth who would normally not be able to participate in a 4-H club,” he said, explaining that many of the participants are from populations underserved by the traditional 4-H club model.

Borba is hopeful that this program will contribute to enhanced classroom learning experiences and excite young people about animal science and food production processes. He also believes that it will contribute to improved behavior and attendance in school.

Borba, left, carefully passing on an egg to a youth member.



Posted on Monday, July 11, 2022 at 11:04 AM
Focus Area Tags: 4-H

Lori Renstrom reflects on achievements with UCCE San Diego, UC ANR Staff Assembly Council

During nearly 20 years at UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, Lori Renstrom has embodied the spirit of the organization: a dedication to service and a roll-up-your-sleeves, whatever-it-takes ethic.

“It's true for most people at ANR – especially in a team kind of environment,” said Renstrom, the office manager at UC Cooperative Extension in San Diego since 2010. “People just seem to pitch in and get things done. It needs to be done, and so it gets done.”

As she gets ready to retire on July 1, Renstrom can look back on a whole lot of “done” in her vital administrative role – including transitioning all personnel from San Diego County support staff to UC employee status, moving the entire operation to a new building when their former one was demolished, and opening a satellite office in Escondido, in the north part of the county.

Lori Renstrom, office manager at UCCE San Diego, began her career with UC ANR as a program manager for Off to a Good Start.
Renstrom said another major highlight was collaborating with UC Master Gardeners and the sheriff's office to establish a garden at a girls' rehabilitation facility. She was touched when several young women wrote thank-you letters, expressing how working in the garden helped them heal from trauma and guide their personal growth.

“They were just really heartfelt letters, so it was just really rewarding,” Renstrom recalled. “You feel like you're really doing something for the community, and the girls were so appreciative.”

Her passion for helping young people first brought Renstrom to UCCE San Diego in 2003, when she served as program manager for Off to a Good Start, under First 5 California, a statewide movement to promote early childhood development.

The program, funded for 8½ years at UCCE San Diego, offered educational opportunities and resources to families and local organizations – especially in the predominantly Hispanic communities of the South Bay – to assist them in providing the best environment for learning and growth for their children.

“We literally helped thousands of parents really understand that they are their child's first and most important teacher,” Renstrom said.

Renstrom's commitment to strengthening communities also extended to UC ANR itself. In 2014, she attended a workshop that revealed the results of a UC-wide work environment survey, as well as the challenges and opportunities across the system. For UC ANR, it was the need for a representative body for nonrepresented staff.

“Being here in San Diego, I would get UC San Diego's Staff Assembly bulletin; we were quote-unquote ‘members' of UCSD Staff Assembly and so I was like, ‘Why don't we have one?'” said Renstrom.

Responding to Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources Glenda Humiston's call for volunteers, Renstrom played an instrumental role in defining the function, structure and bylaws of the nascent Staff Assembly Council. She also served as treasurer for its first two years, and was UC ANR's first senior delegate to the Council of University of California Staff Assemblies.

In addition to providing support for ANR employees, Staff Assembly Council was invaluable in making more people across UC aware of the organization's work throughout the state, Renstrom said.

“Not only are we connected throughout the state for ANR, we're now being connected with all the UC campuses, which is amazing…it kind of starts connecting dots for people,” she explained.

Another original member of ANR Staff Assembly Council, Nikolai Schweitzer, said that Renstrom has been invaluable in a variety of roles during the first seven years of the body's history.

“Lori's leadership skills with creating, developing and managing the Staff Assembly Ambassador program, the Wellness Program and the 2018 Statewide ANR Conference Staff Assembly events have been unparalleled,” said Schweitzer, agriculture supervisor at UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center. “Lori's dedication and service to UC ANR Staff Assembly is the reason for its successes and her contributions will be missed.”

In retirement, Renstrom aims to tackle home improvement projects, read to kids at the local library, and travel with family, friends and “active senior groups.” And, befitting her personality and career, she will not be joining those tours where participants passively watch the world go by.

“I don't want to ride a bus and just look at things through the bus window,” she said with a laugh.

Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 at 9:35 AM
Focus Area Tags: 4-H, Family

Fact sheets help guide programs with equity lens

4-H has expanded club topics and locations to appeal to a more diverse array of children.

The 4-H Program Leaders Working Group has published a series of fact sheets titled “Thriving with an Equity Lens.” While the fact sheets are written for 4-H professionals, the information is applicable to all of UC ANR's work with communities. 

“These fact sheets provide information and recommendations on how to foster a sense of belonging for marginalized youth, list staff competencies needed to engage a youth population, and offer recommendations for culturally adapting program evaluations,” said Fe Moncloa, 4-H youth development advisor for Santa Clara County. 

“Programming with an equity lens necessitates having an understanding of these concepts at the same time: paying attention to multiple systems of oppression, knowing the past and present cultural histories of your target population and having the ability to shift practices on the spot.

“The information on these fact sheets will hopefully help you have a greater understanding of the cultural histories of diverse populations and support you to offer culturally responsive programs.” 

The first fact sheet defines many terms used to talk about diversity, inclusion and equity.

The 11 fact sheets  cover the following topics:

  1. Intro: Thriving Through an Equity Lens
  2. Immigrant and Refugee Youth
  3. LGBTQ+ Youth
  4. Youth Experiencing Homelessness
  5. Youth in Foster Care
  6. Youth with Disabilities
  7. Youth Living in Poverty
  8. Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing
  9. African American Youth
  10. Latinx Youth
  11. American Indian/Alaskan Native (First Nations) Youth

All of the “Thriving with an Equity Lens” fact sheets are posted at


Posted on Monday, June 27, 2022 at 10:08 AM

Fresno 4-H Ambassadors help community recover from Creek Fire

From left, Nicole Ward, Ciara Zito, Clayton Pennebaker and Caydin Simonian. The Fresno County 4-H Ambassadors met in the Sierra Nevada in early 2020, before COVID-19 restrictions and before the Creek Fire struck.

Hundreds of wildfires burned in California in 2020. The biggest single wildfire, according to Cal Fire, was the Creek Fire, which started on Sept. 4 near Shaver Lake in Fresno County. It destroyed 856 structures and burned 379,895 acres mostly in the Sierra National Forest until it was declared contained on Dec. 24.

“Fresno County 4-H had several families that lost homes in the Creek Fire, especially from our Ridge Top 4-H Club,” said 4-H program representative Tracy Newton. 

To help their fellow 4-H members and community recover from the Creek Fire, 4-H Ambassadors in Fresno County assembled baskets containing handmade dough ornaments and a seedling to give to fire survivors. They also partnered with Intermountain Nursery and Sierra Resiliency Fund to begin protecting the scorched land from erosion.

In a video about their efforts, 4-H Ambassadors Caydin Simonian, Ciara Zito, Nicole Ward and Clayton Pennebaker and local partners describe their roles.

“Without volunteers, we can't get very much done. It's nice to have a core group of individuals that are excited and motivated to do work,” Allyson Brooks, Sierra Resiliency Fund volunteer coordinator, said in the video. 

After the Creek Fire, the 4-H Ambassadors partnered with Intermountain Nursery and Sierra Resiliency Fund to prevent soil erosion.

Zito added, “I know together we can make a difference.” 

Newton is proud of the Ambassador team's efforts supporting the Creek Fire recovery. "They've worked so hard, I'd like to see our community aware of their great efforts as well as our UC ANR community," she said. “I think they've done an amazing job! “ 

“Through sales of 4-H logo items and donations received, the team was able to purchase 750 seedlings which will be planted locally,” Newton said. “They are working towards participating in multiple workdays for tree plantings. In addition, there were workdays at the nursery transferring seedlings to larger containers and watering. They also supported in creating a community display that will be placed in the Creek Fire exhibit at the Sierra Historical Society.” 

See the video at

Posted on Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 11:24 AM

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