Wisconsin 4-H hopes to boost learning with new educational program

With the Wisconsin 4-H Youth Conference having been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic for the past two years, 4-H programming managers were looking for ideas to host a fun and educational in-person event.

“4-H Spark Days” is a new program organized by the Institute of Positive Youth Development, UW Extension and the Wisconsin 4-H program, intended to provide an opportunity to experience UW campuses and explore new interests through hands-on learning activities, according to Jessica Jens, associate director of 4-H Wisconsin.

“We’re excited to provide programs for young people to explore new areas of interest and see if it might spark a passion for a new hobby or future career,” Jens said.

In its pilot year, Spark Days will be held in June at UW-River Falls and UW-Milwaukee campuses for Wisconsin 4-H members who have completed grades 7 through 12. Programming has been designed with experiential activities for 4-H members to participate in and reflect on what they are learning and perhaps spark a spark of interest in what they might want to do after they graduate. high school diploma.

UW-River Falls Event

At UW-River Falls on June 20, young people are encouraged to explore and discover career options they may not have considered before, particularly with a focus on agriculture and animal science. Faculty and students from the university will be on hand to educate attendees on college programs and majors in agriculture, food and environmental sciences and more. They will also visit campus lab farms, learn about the UWRF college experience, and participate in hands-on sessions on animal science, horticulture, leadership, business, and more.

Wisconsin 4-H members participate in hands-on learning and leadership activities at the Fall Forum.

UW-Milwaukee Event

On Tuesday, July 21, 4-H members will spend the day in Milwaukee visiting sites around the city. At the UW-Milwaukee campus, they can explore unique programs and majors, including urban agriculture, film, architecture, freshwater science, library science, and more. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet members of local community organizations, professionals from different professional fields, UWM and MATC students, and youth from across the state.

“We hope to learn from these events and see where we can develop them in the future,” says Jens. “It would be wonderful to hold events on college campuses across the state to help break down the regional barriers some of our 4-H members face.”

More information about each day can be found on the website at https://bit.ly/3GKpQSE.

Jens also says that the Wisconsin 4-H & Youth Conference, a statewide 3.5-day educational experience on the UW-Madison campus, will be back in 2023. In addition to Spark Days, adds- she, “Wisconsin 4-H is gearing up for a busy summer with camps, county fairs, and other miscellaneous events across the state. We have had a massive influx of first-year members joining the 4-H -H and we are excited to involve them again in in-person activities.

“We’re excited to continue growing through the fall, and our members will see programming return after the Covid-19 hiatus,” adds Jens. “I see nothing but hope and optimism and an incredibly strong and thriving 4-H program in the years to come.”

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