In Farm's Way
06/11/2009 12:07PM ● Published by Super Admin
El Dorado County’s Placerville-based chapter of 4-H – a nationwide nonprofit with roots in communities across America for more than 100 years – started locally as a means to deliver research from the University of California through its Cooperative Extension Program.
Thanks to a constant evolution, EDC 4-H targets and serves local youth from all backgrounds. With the help of tireless volunteers, EDC 4-H promotes and provides participants with a variety of “hands-on” learning and character-building experiences through several different activities.
Although traditionally considered an agricultural club, today’s 4-H also offers skateboarding and rocket science to complement farming-related activities such as the study of zoology and animal science. “The success of 4-H lies in the citizenship, leadership and life skills that youth gain through inquiry-based learning in projects, programs, community service, activities and conferences throughout El Dorado County, California, nationally and internationally,” says University of California Cooperative Extension 4-H Program Representative Carol Martin. She further explains that EDC 4-H is particularly progressive at the local level. Programs such as Youth in Governance (YIG), for example, encourages young people to interact with key decision-makers about issues that affect them; while nationally, many participate in a popular inbound/outbound Japanese program.
“As for diversity, the El Dorado County Youth Commission (YC) and the ED Grant Advisory Board for Youth have also contributed to networking with the community,” Martin says, describing the local level of involvement with and community support for 4-H that in turn allows the organization to provide participants with increased opportunities and experiences, while expanding its extensive network of valued partnerships. “The YC has formed the 4-H El Dorado County Youth Commission Collaborative, which is represented by partners such as the Public Health Department, Boys and Girls Club South Lake Tahoe, the American River Conservancy and others who work collaboratively to make available more projects.”
Projects are as varied as 4-H youth, running the gamut from civic issues related to a skate park and barriers to bicycles to community service initiatives and programs, and clubs focused on activities such as woodworking, gardening, and photography. “By teaching through a variety of projects that range from rocketry to raising animals, youth learn to care for and carry out a project successfully,” Martin explains. “Under the leadership of volunteers they find a variety of ways to be actively involved in the community.”
EDC 4-H relies on the grants it is frequently awarded to cover the operation costs of its youth-led programs, and also on the assistance of the volunteers who run them. “Four-H would not be possible without the dedicated adult and youth volunteers who step forward to lead others to learn new ideas and take on new projects,” says Martin. Before adult volunteers are allowed to join EDC 4-H, they must be carefully screened and fingerprinted. All youth are welcome to join EDC 4-H.
To learn more about the organization, its programs, or available volunteer opportunities, call Christine Morris at 530-621-5507 or visit ceeldorado.ucdavis.edu/4-H_Program/.