News from the Center for Youth Development
4-H National Mentoring Program in St. Paul and the Fond du Lac reservation
(January 2013) Minnesota 4-H received $82,000 this year to continue its 4-H National Mentoring Program in St. Paul and the Fond du Lac reservation. Jessica Russo, Becky Meyer and Susan Beaulieu are the co-PI's and this is the third year for this funding in Minnesota.
The 4-H National Mentoring Program is recognized for implementing effective mentoring strategies with goals of improving family relationships, increasing social competencies, increasing school attendance, reducing juvenile delinquency, youth unemployment, and school failure while incorporating core principles of positive youth development to improve the well-being of at-risk youth ages 8-17, especially underserved populations of Latino, African American, and children of incarcerated parents.
The funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) supports these initiatives that assist in the development and maturity of community programs providing mentoring services to high-risk populations under the 4-H National Mentoring Program. The goal is to reduce juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, truancy, and other problems and high-risk behaviors. The program objective is to provide direct one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring, or peer-mentoring services to under-served youth populations.
Identified objectives are:
- Improved outcomes for at-risk youth;
- Improved mentoring program administration; and
- Improved organizational capacity.
In St. Paul, Jessica Russo manages two programs, Kid Power, which is a group of 4th - 8th grade kids focused on digital media, and the McDonough 4-H Club, which is located at McDonough housing. Youth and mentors meet weekly using a group mentoring model (ratio of 4 youth to 1 adult) to explore STEM, engage in service learning, and develop goals and leadership skills for overcoming barriers to higher education. Trips to campus, leader retreats, fairs, and businesses help connect and apply learning and establish long-term commitment. Family empowerment sessions engage families with youth educational goals.
At the Fond du Lac Reservation, Becky Meyer and Susan Beaulieu manage the matching of youth and mentors based on career interest. The participants take part in monthly group mentoring sessions focused on gardening, archery and cooking, and co-develop field trips to facilitate deeper career exploration. Youth also participate in weekly 4-H club programming and monthly family night out events. Facilitated by 4-H staff, Brookston Center staff, and other community partners, these events are co-developed with youth.
- Improved outcomes for at-risk youth;
Minnesota Walkabout Fellowship
(December 2012) The 2011-12 Minnesota Walkabout Fellowship was a year-long effort to bring experienced youth workers together in order to generate more wisdom, language, and leadership around youth worker preparation and practice in Minnesota. At both the state and national levels, a growing collection of standards, competencies, credentials, and career pathways are being established to guide and standardize youth work preparation and practice.
National 4-H conference coming to Minnesota in 2014
(January 2013) The 2014 National Association of Extension 4-H Agents conference will be held in Minneapolis. Held in even-numbered years, NAE4-HA offers professional development members' professional competency, capability and scope in the dual discipline of youth development and Extension education.
The NAE4-HA organization offers networking, professional development, and integration of scholarship, research & practice for 4-H agents. The conference is held every other October, alternating with the Galaxy conference for all Extension professionals nationally.
Margo Herman published in Youth and Policy Journal
(November 2012) Margo Herman, Minnesota Extension youth development educator, has published an article in Youth and Policy, an online journal in the UK., that outlines a reflective framework for youth work supervisors to use to further positive change in their organizations.
"Thinking Space: Reflective Practice Meets Youth Work Supervision" identifies the concepts of reflective practice, critical inquiry and action research, then proposes a framework for reflective supervisory practice in a youth work context, and analyzes the benefits of this approach.
Dorothy Freeman receives education excellence award
(November 2012) Dorothy McCargo Freeman, Extension Center for Youth Development associate dean, is a 2012 WEM Outstanding Educator Award for Excellence in Education recipient, an honor that comes with a $10,000 award.
Freeman is one of seven educators being honored by the WEM Foundation and Synergy & Leadership Exchange for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to student learning. The WEM Foundation's statewide Excellence in Education recognizes superior contributions of educators whose leadership and dedication inspire a spirit of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities outside the traditional education system and classroom.
Testing the waters
(January 2012) A new 4-H project offers youth a chance to be hands-on citizen scientists by monitoring water quality in their local areas. In the Aquatic Robotics Project, 4-H’ers build and program a remote-operated underwater vehicle to collect water samples, then test the samples. Aquatic robotics, a joint project between Extension and the US Navy, is being rolled out across Minnesota and will contribute to knowledge of watershed quality in 67 counties.
Rules of (youth) Engagement
(October 2011) How does Minnesota 4-H prepare young people to excel in college, careers and communities?
Minnesota 4-H stories: Then and now
(June 2011) How does being a member of University of Minnesota Extension 4-H shape youth - both today and in past generations? Did they find a passion for the outdoors that led to a career? Or a lifelong interest in photography?