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4-H National Youth Science Day

Looking at two different plans designed by group

Looking at two different plans designed by group

Drawing map layer

Drawing a map layer

Tyndall teens and staff training to teach NSD Material

Teens and staff training to teach NYSD Material

 

 

October 6-12 was National 4-H Week, and more than 6 million young people across the country celebrated the great things that the 4-H youth development program offers young people and the incredible 4-H’ers who work each day to a make a positive impact on their community.

One of the highlights of National 4-H Week has become the 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD). For more than 100 years, 4-H has been at the forefront of teaching young people about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Currently, more than five million young people across the nation participate in 4-H STEM programming in topics as varied as robotics, agricultural science, rocketry, wind power, environmental science and alternative energy.  NYSD is the premier national rallying event for this year-round 4-H STEM programming, bringing together youth, volunteers, and educators from the nation’s 109 land-grant colleges and universities to simultaneously complete the National Science Experiment.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013, was the official date of the sixth annual 4-H NYSD, and as a part of National 4-H Week, millions of young people became scientists for the day. This event, which takes place in urban, suburban and rural communities all across the nation, seeks to spark an early youth interest and leadership in STEM careers in an effort keep America competitive in those fields.

The 2013 NYSD Experiment is – 4-H Maps & Apps!  This set of activities turns young people into geospatial thinkers as they design and map their ideal park, use GIS mapping to solve community problems, and contribute data about their community to the United States Geological Survey.

Research has proven that participation in 4-H has a significant positive impact on young people. Recent findings from the Tufts University 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicates that, when compared to their peers, young people in 4-H are:

  • Nearly 4 times more likely to contribute to their communities,
  • Two times more likely to pursue healthy behaviors, and
  • Two times more likely to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in the out-of-school time.

National Youth Science Day is just one of the many ways we reach youth to make these kinds of impacts.  If you would like more information on 4-H National Youth Science Day or would still like to participate in the activity, there is still time.  Information is available at http://www.4-h.org/4-h-national-youth-science-day/. It’s not too late to plan and register your event for 2013!

Benefits of Volunteering With 4-H

Robotics

Volunteer teaching local youth how to build underwater robots.

The goal of 4-H is to teach youth life skills.  In so doing, we find that we also equip them with marketable skills, a sense of belonging, and a sense of self-worth, each of which makes them more apt to be successful.  However, besides the most obvious benefit that your volunteer services are to your local youth and community, there are benefits for you personally as well.  In fact, studies indicate that individuals who volunteer, experience greater health benefits,1 and in some cases, that individuals can combat the onset of depression simply by volunteering.2 Additional personal benefits of volunteerism include increased social skills, and an expanded social network.

 

Another thing to consider is that by volunteering with 4-H you will have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of children.  This more than likely will trigger a sense of commitment, pride, and accomplishment in you which leads to a more positive self-image.  The more positive your self-image, the more likely you are to set and accomplish positive personal goals, thus feeling a sense of accomplishment which creates a continuous circle of self-worth and confidence.

 

One of the most undervalued benefits of volunteering with 4-H is the time spent practicing the very life skills you are teaching through 4-H programming like communication, teamwork, and program planning.  As you work with your youth to help them develop these life skills, you too are strengthening them in yourself.  When they combine their increased life skills with taking part in the wide variety of training opportunities presented through 4-H, some volunteers may open new doors for employment based on the skills they have learned and developed.

 

In today’s time when families are busier than ever and time seems limited, having a positive adult role model can truly influence the path of youth.  Volunteering with a 4-H program allows these positive impacts to occur.  If you are already a 4-H volunteer, take pride in your contributions and reap the joy and benefits associated with such.  If you are not currently a volunteer, the great news is that you do not have to look far to find a perfect match for your volunteerservices…the Florida 4-H program welcomes you, and area 4-H Agents are eager to help you get started!

1 Dulin and Hill, 2003; Brown et al., 2005; Brown et al., 2003; Liang et al., 2001; Morrow-Howell et al., 2003; Midlarsky and Kahana, 1994; and Schwartz et al., 2003

2 Depression Alliance http://www.depressionalliance.org/latest-news/volunteering-combats-depression.php