4H Provides Incredible Technology-Related Camps for Kids — Not Just Animal Husbandry any More

Is your kid interested in Robotics, Biology or other Technologies? Believe it or not 4-H camps now have it all.

4H is now a growing community of more than 6.5 million young people across America who learns leadership, citizenship and life skills to uplift the country. National 4-H Council is the national, private sector, non-profit partner of the 4-H Youth Development Program and its parent, the Cooperative Extension System of the United States Department of Agriculture.

4-H prepare America’s youth by encouraging exploration, discovery and ignite passion for science, engineering, and technology through accessible, hands-on out-of-school programming. 4-H does these things by mapping DNAs, solving problem and instigate possibility thinking in kids. It uses science to solve community problems and giving an opportunity to work in cutting-edge technologies. 4-H takes youths to labs, research organization and involve them in some real projects so they become interested and create project on their own.

To develop these youths, 4-H partners with several science or engineering-based corporations and universities to develop camps. Through this 4-H foster an early interest in the sciences with the hope that youth will be interested in and pursue technical careers in the future. The corporations commit to the work of 4-H as part of ensuring a pipeline of qualified workers for the future.

4-H offers 400 residential camps that foster interest in the sciences. 4-H’s educational programs in science, engineering, and technology have an unparalleled reach of more than 5 million youth in all 50 states. It has a longstanding history as a leader in youth education and has partnerships with 106 Land Grant Universities and the university-based curriculum.

According to Rising Above Gathering Storm, 2006, only 5% of college graduates in America are leaving college with degrees in science, engineering or technology compared to 66% in Japan, 59% in China and 36% in Germany.

4-H is playing a vital role in positive youth development by aligning the interests and talents of today’s youth with current technologies, resources, and communal offerings and by showing that scientific studies can be part of the social and academic norm.

A recent study (Tufts University Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development) shows that participants in 4-H are more likely to obtain higher school grades, enroll in college, and contribute to society. When compared to children who participate in non 4-H related out-of-school activities (sports, Scouting, etc), 6th graders currently participating in 4-H clubs and after-school programs are 1.6 times more likely to enroll in college.

Children who had participated in 4-H for at least one year by 8th grade are about 3.5 more likely to contribute to their families, self, and communities. They are also 1.3 times more likely to be on the lowest trajectories for both depressive symptoms and or risk/delinquent behaviors.

4-H stresses on “learning by doing”. It believes that by doing something students learn faster than reading.

Some of the 4-H science and tech camps, where students really learn by doing.

  • The ExxonMobil Foundation and The Harris Foundation funded a summer science camp with the 4-H extension program at Oregon State University where 6th and 8th graders learn about Lego robotics, ecology, and Web 2.0 tools. As a result, 80% of campers reported an increased interest in science as a result of attending; 55% planned a career in science.
  • Intel has invested nearly half a million dollars in the 4-H Tech Wizards program in Washington County, Oregon. The program charges kids with using state of the art technology, like handheld GPS/GIS devices to complete community projects including street tree inventory and mapping the safest walking routes to local schools. Intel employs 16 thousand people in that area.
  • Utah State University and Utah 4-H teamed up to create 4-H Aggie Adventures for Kids, a program offering educational day-camps that explore archeology, solar energy, GPS technology, robotics, chemistry and physics.
  • 4-H held an invitational day camp for both individuals and groups at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Participants were immersed in hands-on training for a space shuttle mission and explored the history and future of a manned space flight.

You can also volunteer 4-H by clicking here http://www.fourhcouncil.edu/find4h.aspx

Dr. Cathann Kress
Director of Youth Development National 4-H Headquarters at the US Dept. of Agriculture

Dr. Cathann Kress – A biography

Dr. Cathann Kress Ph.D, Director of Youth Development, National 4-H Headquarters at the US Dept. of Agriculture. She provides national leadership for youth development issues within the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and provides program leadership for youth development programs administered through the Cooperative Extension System and Land Grant Universities, including 4-H, USDA-Military Partnerships, Rural Youth Opportunity Programs and Children, Youth and Families at-Risk (CYFAR).

Dr. Kress provides national leadership for youth development research, education and program implementation, which includes providing information, resources, and support related to current and relevant youth issues; oversight for training for youth-serving professionals; support for the development of curriculum and materials related to current youth issues and administration of grants programs, including Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR).

These programs reach more than 7 million youth (ages 5-22) annually, with the assistance of over 640,000 adult volunteers. Dr. Kress directly supervises 16 staff and works collaboratively with about 3,000 land grant university faculty and staff leading 4-H at the state and county level, and with over 60 affiliated private foundations and organizations. Federal support for these programs is approximately $80 million annually, which leverages additional state and local public dollars and substantial grants and other private funding.

Dr. Kress joined CSREES in October 2002, after serving as Assistant Director for Cornell Cooperative Extension and State 4-H Leader in New York. Dr. Kress also served as State Youth Development Specialist for Iowa State University Extension, primarily serving as a violence prevention consultant for schools and began her Extension career as a 4-H Youth Development Educator in Benton and Tama counties in Iowa.

Dr. Kress co-authored the book, Key Resources on Student Services as well as the annual guides, Understanding the Iowa Youth Survey Data: A Practical Guide for Schools and Communities. Prior experience includes teacher training and education for gifted students.

Dr. Kress lives in Southern Maryland with her husband and three children.


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