4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. In Oregon, 4-H is found in every county where it provides research-based, non-formal, experiential learning programs for K-12 youth. Youth along with their adult mentors learn about any subject of their choosing. Last year more than 100,000 youth and 6,000 adult volunteers were involved in 4-H activities.
The core goals of the Oregon 4-H Youth Development program are focused in youth/adult leadership, science, engineering, technology, natural resources, health, education, expressive arts, culture, sports, college and workforce preparation/life skills, and outreach to underserved audiences. 4-H programs are delivered in 4-H clubs, after school programs, conferences, day and residential camps, such as the International Summer Camp, known as the “Latino Style Olympic Summer Camp” and other state level activities, and through school enrichment programs.
OSU 4-H county faculty members provide leadership for county and state 4-H programs. They provide educational programs to assist youth in developing appropriate life and technical skills for adulthood, and they provide volunteer and staff training to assist families and communities in developing sound educational programs for youth. At the state level, 4-H Extension specialists collaborate with county faculty to support 4-H educational programs statewide.
Special Focus: 4-H Outreach to Underserved Populations
Since 1997 Oregon 4-H has made a special effort to engage Latino youth. Since 2012, the Outreach Program has expanded to other underserved youth from all different cultural backgrounds. We are working closely with local community leaders, 4-H bilingual/bicultural staff have built relationships with families and developed educational programs that meet the needs and interests of youth and families in a culturally responsive manner. Programs vary widely in content ranging from technology and natural resources to culinary and cultural arts, sports and summer camps.
We know that all families, regardless of their background, respects and values education, and families are anxious for their children to be academically successful. Along with formal K-12 education, youth also need community-based activities that support their knowledge and skill development, reinforce their aspirations for academic achievement, and provide role models for success. They also need to be exposed to the many career opportunities that exist and provided with information on how to prepare for them.
Major 4-H outreach programming for youth is currently conducted in Polk, Marion, Clackamas, Washington, Jackson, Lane, and Benton counties. 4-H faculty and staff are well positioned to work with Oregon State University researchers and programs to design and deliver educational opportunities that will enrich the education of underserved youth and expand the University’s impact on underserved audiences.
Project Goals and Objectives
The objectives of the 4-H Outreach to Underserved Populations Program is to increase awareness among children, youth, families, and professionals about the different resources, opportunities, and support available statewide to help them to advance to the next level or help the them achieve their goals and dreams by pursuing postsecondary education through college and financial aid information, through the deliver of cultural responsive and language appropriate after school community-based educational programs and activities.
This year the 4-H Outreach Program will offer four summer camps targeting underserved students in 3-12 grades. Camp #1 will bring 50-75 elementary school students in grades 3-5. Camp #2 will bring 50-75 high school students in grades 9-12. Camp #3 will bring 100 middle school students in grades 6-8. Camp #4 will bring 100 middle school students in grades 6-8 from different cultural backgrounds and the main objective of the program is to explore different career opportunities and learn about each other’s culture, traditions, history, music, dances, and customs. The 4-H International Summer Camp is part of a larger effort to engage underserved youth in activities that will help them improve their academic skills, develop leadership skills, learn about career options and opportunities, how to prepare and apply for college, and engage them in healthy physical and cultural activities for student to have fun and learn.
An additional goal of the 4-H Outreach Program is to provide support to 4-H County Educators and Program Assistants to maximize their skills, knowledge, and capacity on how to bring more underserved youth and resources to their 4-H programs and activities.
The broader vision is to create an opportunity for underserve youth to explore continued educational options and guide them to careers through studies at community colleges and universities. Oregon has a high “High School” drop out rate, an unacceptable situation that this project will seek to minimize by encouraging and supporting students to stay in school, get good grades, and pursue a postsecondary education. A study by the Oregon Department of Education in 2002 claims that in Oregon, among the minorities, Hispanics are lagging behind the rest in all of the Oregon Academic Benchmarks as well as in high school completion and college preparation. Involvement in 4-H Latino Outreach Program will expose youth to different environments, introduce new information, provide opportunities for them to learn about postsecondary education and ways to fund it, and engage them in fun and challenging educational activities. Very importantly, the Latino Outreach Program will permit youth to interact with Latino University students and professionals who will serve as role models.
The project brings together support from the Oregon 4-H program, the Oregon 4-H Conference & Education Center, the OSU College of Forestry, OSU College of Engineering, OSU College Migrant Assistance Program (CAMP), OSU Office of Financial Aid, Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI), Weyerhaeuser Co., Siuslaw National Forest, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, public organizations like City of Salem and Nuevo Amanecer, public schools, and a group of committed Extension Service faculty and staff. Together we provide a variety of educational workshops and physical activities that will encourage Latino students to advance. Our main focus will be activities related Science, Engineering, Technology, Natural Resources, Health, Education, Expressive Arts, Culture, & Sports. Other activities will address general math and science skills, history, healthy lifestyles, and attending college. The Latino Outreach Program also provides opportunities for students to participate in physical activities including swimming, swinging, canoeing, volleyball, races, soccer, and archery.
In closing “A leader is someone who can take a group of people to a place they don’t think they can go” Robert Eaton. Please help us be those leaders for the sake of all our communities. To learn more about some of our programs, visit the 4-H International Summer Camp.
To contact an Outreach coordinator in your area, call or e-mail individuals on our list of participants.
For more information please contact:
Mario A. Magaña, Associate Professor &
OSU Extension 4-H State Outreach Specialist
Oregon State University
4-H Youth Development Eduction
123 Ballard Extension HallCorvallis, OR 97331
Phone: (541) 737-0925 Fax: (541) 737-1332