4-H outdoor programs get youth and families exploring together
Last month, 4-H offered 14 unique programs that encourage youth to get outside and explore the natural world. From gardening, pollinators and conservation, to hiking, birding and fishing too, hundreds of youth stepped away from their screens and found joy and adventure outside.
4-H Choose Your Outdoor Adventure learning series has connected more than 100 youth with a variety of activities they can do independently or with their families. Weekly sessions connect learners with outdoor enthusiasts like professional thru-hikers, Olympic athletes, ATV safety specialists and more. Each session wraps up with a challenge and outdoor adventure guide to help youth apply what they’ve learned.
4-H Healthy Sprouts invited youth from across northeast Minnesota to explore where their food comes and grow their own in containers, raised beds or community gardens. Weekly sessions connected youth with food and horticulture professionals and always included tips for turning what they grow into healthy snacks.
4-H In Your Backyard engaged 165 Minnesota youth in a week-long virtual camp that was filled with hands-on nature experiences. Kits arrived at their doorsteps with the gear and guides required for age-specific learning.
The littlest 4-H’ers learned about birds and bugs, middle grade youth dug deep into the life cycle of plants and teens spent the week in wilderness exploration.
Youth from 50 counties participated in 4-H outdoor programs.
4-H educators delivered 368 learning kits to Minnesota youth in July. Whether in urban neighborhoods or more rural environments, 4-H kits help youth explore and discover in the great outdoors.
In 4-H, youth and families can learn and explore together.
Virtual horse training
The limits of meeting in-person this summer created an opportunity for innovation in the Minnesota 4-H Horse Program. More than a dozen on-demand learning videos have been created by teen leaders under the guidance of 4-H educators. Topics have included, barrels, showmanship, desensitizing and hoof care.
376 youth and 135 adults have accessed these timely and engaging videos. There are also integrated goal setting and follow-up discussions for youth who want to further deepen their learning.
Upcoming learning opportunities for horse enthusiasts include a live sessions with award-winning barrel racer Jane Melby.
Educators & supporters collaborated to host 47 virtual and in-person showcases across Minnesota in July. The pandemic required many adjustments, but the opportunity remained for all who were interested.
A priority in 4-H showcases is ensuring youth can safely share their project learning with caring and supportive judges. Hundreds of those adults from all over the state engaged youth in talking about their learning and helping them to reflect about ways to build skills in the future.
"I love showing pigs. I always had hope that we would have the chance to showcase and we ended up getting that.”-Jacob W., Fillmore County
Committing our hands to larger service is a key tenet of the 4-H pledge. 4-H educators, youth, and volunteers have been busy giving back to communities.
4-H’ers made over 2,000 cloth masks and have offered care and companionship to elders by writing letters, creating video greetings, and art for residents in residential care facilities. North St. Louis County 4-H Ambassadors hosted a drive that raise $1,145 and 171 pounds of food. A partnership between Ramsey, Hennepin, Anoka and Carver counties resulted in the 4-H Essential Supply Drive. Over 350 people attended the event to give (or receive) groceries, personal hygiene items and other necessary supplies.
Performing arts at home
Since early July, nearly 100 youth have joined 4-H educators to explore the fun and careers available in the wide world of performing arts.
Weekly online learning sessions introduced youth to professional artists in sound & lighting, prop design, dance, comedy & magic, and arts administration. Peer leaders guided small group discussion for goal setting and reflection. Each session wrapped up with an at-home challenge youth could try out and share with others.
“After finding out all the different ways to make and use props and scenes, I'm going to use my imagination and think outside the box more.” -Mark W., Wilkin County