4-H and Youth Development
4-H is the largest youth organization in the United States and is identified by its green four-leaf clover with an H on each leaf. Programs delivered and/or developed with the Cooperative Extension Program have a strong emphasis on recruiting and sustain limited resource youth into the 4-H program. Two major program highlights include healthy lifestyles and STEM.
A healthy life style initiative, the 4-H National Mentoring Program features replication of the 4-H Mentoring: Youth & Families with Promise, recognized for implementing effective mentoring strategies with goals of reducing juvenile delinquency and enhancing school success and family support.
Another initiative offered is Girl Matters. Agents have been trained to collaborate with community partners that provide an interactive, hands on learning opportunity that explores core concepts, practical interventions and gender responsive theories related to improving practice among girl only and coeducational youth groups. Advanced trainings are created through partnerships between extension programs and national and local resources to provide mentoring, academic enrichment and culturally relevant learning opportunities for girls and youth.
Sciences in 4-H youth programs span from interactive forensic science problem solving activities and Junk Drawer Robotics. 4-H introduces sciences to ages 9-18. Teaching basic physical science concepts related robotic systems, engineering design process, and technology tools are used for learning and introducing career paths related to technology and engineering. Currently the 4-H STEM Specialist focuses on 4-H Robotics, Geo 4-H, and 4-H Engineering and Design.