4-H honors those who help Oregon youth thrive

March 28, 2008

CORVALLIS, Ore. - 4-H, the youth development program run by Oregon State University Extension Service, honored nine Oregonians for their work in helping Oregon's young people develop skills for life.

These nine people were inducted into the Oregon 4-H Hall of Fame, recognizing their volunteer work with young people across the state, in projects ranging from horsemanship to computer programming.

"The Oregon 4-H Hall of Fame honors individuals who have had a significant impact providing opportunities for personal growth and increasing social and technical skills to youth between kindergarten and 12th grade," said Helen Pease, OSU Extension's 4-H youth program coordinator.

A 2006 study published by Tufts University researchers concluded that 4-H clubs are among the most effective youth development organizations in the nation to develop positive influences in the lives of youth.

Focusing on five characteristics that indicate a positive response to individual and social interactions — competence, confidence, connection, character, and compassion — the Tufts study found that many community-based programs contribute to one or more of these characteristics, but only 4-H clubs contributed to all five.

OSU's 4-H programs are backed by university research and delivered by trained volunteer leaders, according to Roger Rennekamp, director of the OSU Extension 4-H program. "The programs engage youth over time, from kindergarten to college, developing in complexity as the individual grows up.

"If we are concerned about sustainable communities, we must include youth as our future citizens and leaders," he said.

The latest inductees to the 4-H Hall of Fame have encouraged a positive relationship between youth civic engagement and thriving individuals, according to Rennekamp.

For example, Janet Rash and Emilio Cañas of Washington County were inducted into the Hall of Fame for their work developing the 4-H Tech Wizard program.

According to Pease, the idea began when OSU 4-H faculty in Washington County convened a series of community conversations to explore what could be done to address an 86% drop-out rate for local Latino youth. Janet Rash of Intel Community Affairs introduced 4-H faculty to Emilio Cañas, the President of the Intel Latino Network. Together, Rash and Cañas co-authored the first of many successful grants to Intel Corporation — grants that now total almost $750,000 in cash, in-kind, and equipment — to support the Washington County 4-H Tech Wizard program. Rash and Cañas continue to contribute their personal time and resources to 4-H science, engineering and technology education, according to Pease.

The other newest inductees to the 4-H Hall of Fame are:

From Benton County: E.L. "Dad" Potter

From Curry County: Robert Myron Knox

From Gilliam County: Holly Weimar

From Lane County: Marjorie Edwards; Kathleen Huston

From Umatilla County: Jean Correa

From Yamhill County: Yvonne "Von" Kam

Author: Peg Herring
Source: Helen Pease, Roger Rennekamp