Focus on Youth
News for OCES staff working with youth.
4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.
Dear Educators and Volunteers,
Fair Season is upon us once again!
The following note was shared by our very own Randy Pirtle, NE District Director. For those that do not know Randy, to say he is passionate about county fairs would be an understatement!
Most of you know that I believe in county fairs and the opportunities that exist with these events to help publicize the offerings of the Extension service. I believe that we all would agree that a significant portion of our population doesn't really know what the Cooperative Extension Service is or the scope of our outreach. They may have heard of 4-H but don't really even know that it is one of many programs in the Extension service. Yes, this does vary with our population and demographics but as a whole it is becoming more of an issue statewide.
I encourage you to read the following study http://www.joe.org/joe/2001august/iw1.php. This study was done a few years ago, but, ironically, I doubt that the results would be any different in 2016.
Take the time to promote the OSU Cooperative Extension Service with your free public relations opportunity at the county fair.
Randy's words echo in my mind the dreaded words we often hear: "Extension is Oklahoma's Best Kept Secret!" It is our responsibility to share the positive impact Cooperative Extension has, not only with our youth, but with all of our citizens!
To every educator, volunteer, parent, support staff professional and 4-H member, we say "Thank You" for your commitment and dedication to Oklahoma 4-H!
State 4-H Program Leader & Assistant Director, OCES
Review the Club Management System Manual as you begin preparing volunteers and clubs for the new year. The most current version (2015) can be downloaded.
- Staff resources and references: starting clubs, finances, orientation for club leaders, renewing charter, On TRAC, forms, etc.
- Club Leader resources and references: By-laws, monthly planning guide, treasurer guide, finances, pledge, 4-H Ritual, clover guidelines, Volunteer Fact Sheets, etc.
As a public institution, the university must ensure compliance with federal statutes of the Department of Labor governing employment and volunteerism.
In February, 2015, the assistant chief human resources officer met with Sue Bonner and 4-H regarding a new university policy being implemented campuswide with anyone volunteering for the university in any capacity.
Since 1998 Oklahoma 4-H has been attentive in the certification of a significant number of volunteers necessary to conduct programming. We have continually communicated the need to use position description with any volunteer - certified or episodic.
Please revisit the newest version of the VMS manual, 2015 edition, pages 17 and 124, regarding a volunteer position description. The manual references the use of a letter/email/orientation which fulfill the university's requirement of providing a volunteer position/job description.
The following is a modified version of the original communication in June of 2015.
As a result of the 2015 meeting, the "Adult Volunteer Risk and Release of Claims/Publicity Release" was included as part of the enrollment and application packets for certified volunteers, and we are strengthening our efforts to impress the good practice of using position descriptions with episodic and certified volunteers. Revised position descriptions for a club leader, Cloverbud leader, project leader, activity leader, general volunteer and teen leader have been updated and posted at http://4h.okstate.edu/for-educators/volunteer-management-system/volunteer-position-descriptions-2015-revisions. These documents coincide with the volunteer positions in the new 4HOnline enrollment system. As volunteer enrollment is completed (online or by paper) please be sure the appropriate position description is provided to the volunteer. During the program year be sure episodic volunteers are being provided some form of position description.
I have received some calls regarding insurance and want to update you on coverage.
A portion of the 4-H program fee is used to provide the $1/member/year coverage option through American Income Life for all members, including Clover Buds. Youth involved in horse or ATV projects are covered under this state policy. The state 4-H office has submitted paperwork to ensure his policy will go into effect on September 1, 2016, for our youth.
I know your county or clubs may renew their annual policy with AIL near this time and wanted to make sure everyone was aware they no longer need to do so.
If insurance is needed between now and September 1, you are encouraged to purchase the Special Activities Coverage available through AIL. Here is the link to the AIL webpage http://www.americanincomelife.com/who-we-serve/4-h-insurance
Should you have questions regarding this insurance please do not hesitate to contact the office.
Many of our Extension colleagues are affected by the flooding in Louisiana. If you would like to help, our colleagues there are asking that you donate to organizations like Red Cross and designate funds be directed to Louisiana Flood Relief. At this point, if we tried to do a collection of bottled water, etc., we don’t have any way of knowing where to take it, etc. So if you get questions from counties related to this, please pass this information along.
The 2016 State 4-H Judging Contest (non-livestock) for competitive judging events in Horticulture, Crops, Entomology and Consumer Decision Making will be held Saturday, September 24th, on the OSU Stillwater Campus.
4-H members can participate in two of the four judging areas. This will allow time for event coordinators to give class results and explain the rationale behind placement. There is a $5 participation fee for the day. Medals will be awarded to the top three individuals and teams in each division.
Registration materials were emailed to county Extension offices on 8/4/16 and are due September 15th, 2016.
9:30 am Judging 101 for all participants 10 am - noon Track 1: Entomology Track 2: Horticulture noon - 1:30 pm Lunch on your own 1 - 1:30 pm Judging 101 (repeated session for those not attending at 9:30 am) 1:45 - 3:45 pm Track 3: Consumer Decision Making Track 4: Crops Approximately 4 pm Awards Ceremony
The Science Museum contacted me and said they had a donor that wanted to sponsor a 4-H night at the museum. They have agreed to pay for 250 youth and adult participants on November 18. Registrants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The first 250 I receive will be included in the event. Anyone after that will not be accepted.
For the registration form go to: http://4h.okstate.edu/events-and-activities/state-events-activities/free-science-night-at-the-museum
I receive calls and emails regarding the 4-H robotics competitions. We have hosted multiple trainings and workshops to introduced volunteers, parents and educators to the Lego Robotics program.
We have learned you don't have to be an engineer or even all that "techy" to lead a Robotics team. You just need to be willing. The youth can figure out the tech problems. It is up to the adults to gather the information, plan meetings and facilitate the program.
First Lego League (FLL) is a national robotics competition that has a terrific reputation for promoting STEM and youth development. This program is an excellent opportunity for 4-H youth to learn about robotics and compete against teams from across the state.
FLL hosts multiple competitions across the state and around the region that serve as a showcase for robotics teams to demonstrate their program skills, design skills, cooperation skills and their public speaking skills. Each competition challenges youth in multiple area and can serve as the motivation for a team to work together and learn robotics to meet these challenges.
The time is here for teams to register and take on the 2017 Challenge, "Animal Allies."
For more information, go to: http://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll
Please encourage your volunteers and parents to consider starting a new team. It's not free, but it is worthwhile. If you have a group and would like to talk about starting a team, let me know. Maybe I can help. I have a few core Lego kits I would like to check out to teams who plan to participate in FLL, contacts of volunteer coaches who are will to help you get started, and a few other resources that can help. FLL is a friendly competition. Not everyone wins, but everyone learns. It is a terrific challenge to begin your robotic program.
The National 4-H Council has kicked off their #4HGrown campaign. This special campaign focuses on recognizing 4-H alumni and sharing their 4-H stories. Oklahoma 4-H wants to hear from our alumni! If 4-H has played a role in shaping the person you are today or was influential in the life of someone you know, tell us! Feel free to also post on social media to highlight our alumni. Use the hashtags #4HGrown and #OK4H when posting.
#4HGrown also will be the theme for the upcoming National 4-H Week. We will be sharing our alumni stories on social media during the week.
Please send photos and stories to Kristin Knight, Oklahoma 4-H marketing coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For National 4-H Week marketing resources, visit http://4-h.org/professionals/marketing-resources/4-h-week-toolkit/
As the summer winds down and school starts again, we'd like to pause to reflect upon youth development, which is what 4-H, and 4-H curriculum, is all about. A major focus area of 4-H is Healthy Living, which includes social and emotional health. Creating safe spaces for all youth - and adults - to learn and to play is of the utmost importance. We encourage you to focus on emotional health as you plan your programming. One curriculum to help guide you is Be SAFE: Safe, Affirming and Fair Environments. Written by adolescent development experts from Michigan State University, this curriculum promotes social and emotional learning and development, addresses and reduces bullying, and develops positive relationships among youth and adults. Let's work together to create the best experiences for all of us!
Do you have 4-H members who love the culinary arts but are also interested in pursuing a STEM-related career? Well, there are multiple career opportunities that allow students to combine both of these passions. In partnership with STEMJobs.com, here are some jobs that require a knowledge and love of both science and food.
The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation is proud to present their Summer Toolkit and the opportunity to win a $25 gift card. Within this toolkit you will find free and open source resources and curriculum, created in partnership with Discovery Education, that promote a healthy and active lifestyle. The toolkit includes resources for Pre-K through late teens and adults. To be entered to win a $25 gift card, please let us know what you think by completing this quick SURVEY.
See the article below for an opportunity to learn, grow and teach as a professional.
November 11-13, 2016, a multi-state conference will be held at the State 4-H Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.
This event is for 4-H volunteers, parents and Extension educators wanting to learn fun, creative, innovative and effective best practices in working with today's youth and families. It is also a great event to network with adults interested in growing youth, volunteers and the 4-H program. Sessions will be taught by experienced volunteers and Extension staff. Click for general conference information. Cost is $175-$195, which includes meals, housing and programming. The deadline to register is October 21, 2016. Register at: https://www.regonline.com/2016volunteerumultistate4hconference.
The objectives of the Conference are:
- Educational Curriculum
- Volunteer Best Practices
- Positive Youth Development Programming
Please consider sending a team, a volunteer as a form of recognition, or participating for professional development/continuing education.
The conference is currently seeking workshop proposals. Proposals are due October 7, 2016.
4-H Salute to Excellence Program
The State Volunteer Board encourages each county to honor and recognize the efforts of their volunteers. A county may submit one nominee for each of the two awards:
- Volunteer of the Year (less than 10 years of experience)
- Lifetime Volunteer Award (an accumulation of 10 or more years of experience).
County nominee(s) will be recognized at the state awards luncheon June 24, 2017 as part of the State Parent-Volunteer Conference.
The application form and guidelines for 2017 District and State volunteer awards are available at http://4h.okstate.edu/for-youth/awards/2014-ok-volunteer-salute-to-excellence-awards-form/2014-ok-volunteer-salute-to-excellence-guidelines/view .
The resume no longer must be assembled by the volunteer but can be done by the county educator. This was a national change in 2016.
Electronic nominations are due to the district 4-H office no later than 5 pm on or before March 14. Nomination includes volunteer resume, three letters of recommendations and an electronic photograph.
- National Volunteer Month - April
- National Volunteer Week - April 23-29, 2017 http://www.pointsoflight.org/signature-events/national-volunteer-week
Through programs such as the President's Volunteer Service Award, Daily Point of Light Award and the Extra Mile - Points of Light Volunteer Pathway, the Points of Light organization recognizes individuals, families, nonprofit organizations and government entities and the tremendous impact they are making on our country's most critical challenges year-round. Take action
Share your stories - Tell us about the impact volunteers are having in your community or through your organization.
Learn more about these volunteer recognition programs and how to nominate volunteers for awards.
All due dates listed in this publication are the dates that county staff are to have items in the state 4-H office or other designated location. Each county will establish due dates prior to the dates posted here. These dates are set to accommodate things like screening of applications, processing payments, and adequate mailing time. All forms should be submitted through your county Extension office unless otherwise indicated. Forms that require an Extension Educator's signature may not be processed if mailed directly.