February 1999 // Volume 37 // Number 1
Changes and Challenges in 4-H (Part 2)
This is the second of a two-part series to address the history of 4-H and identify the changes and challenges of the future. This article reviews the changes and challenges documented in 4-H enrollment statistics (including rural, urban, and ethnic membership), financial support, volunteerism, Extension personnel, and teaching tools. Despite many challenges, these indicators suggest the 4-H program has numerous opportunities to remain a premier youth organization.
Money 2000: A Model Extension Program
The Money 2000 program is designed to increase personal savings and/or reduce debt, ultimately enhancing the financial well-being of individuals and families. This article describes the following strategies utilized with the Money 2000 program: focusing programming, employing successful marketing strategies, engaging diverse audiences, and documenting impact. Analyzing these strategies will provide insights for developing and implementing other successful Extension programs.
Building Community Collaboration for Lead Safety Education: Extension Educators Take the Lead
Well-planned partnerships between Extension and community agencies expanded available resources for reaching populations at-risk for lead poisoning. The purpose of the project was to explore the possibilities of training extenders to deliver primary prevention information in Latino communities. The lowering of the baseline for childhood lead burden by the Centers for Disease Control increased the need to educate more families beyond the capability of Extension educators. By using a multicultural curriculum and training approach designed by Cooperative Extension, extenders efficiently and effectively reached a targeted clientele. This partnership model identified and promoted Cooperative Extension as an effective leader for community health collaboration in major urban cities.
Attitudes of Extension Professionals Toward Diversity Education in 4-H Programs
America is becoming an increasingly diverse society. As an informal educational program for youth development, what role should 4-H programs have in helping youth learn about cultures that are different than their own? The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of Extension professionals toward diversity education in 4-H programs. Pennsylvania Extension professionals were surveyed regarding their attitudes toward the importance of diversity education and the recruitment of youth from different backgrounds. Although Pennsylvania Extension professionals were generally supportive of diversity in 4-H /youth development programs, there is clearly a need to strengthen diversity efforts and provide diversity focused in-service opportunities for Extension professionals and volunteers.
Native Americans' Interest in Horticulture
Focus groups held on two Native American reservations in Minnesota determined community members interest, value and desire for Extension horticultural programs. Using local Native American Master Gardeners to set up and assist with the meetings was imperative to success. Programs identified as of interest have now or will be offered include: 1) combined classes on gardening and food preservation; 2) historical Native American uses of plants ; and 3) an extensive list of many horticultural topics including home landscaping, small and tree fruits, and perennial flowers.
Proactive Accountability: Building Relationships with Legislators
Ohio State University Extension uses a proactive approach when working with legislators and other decision makers. This approach is built on a philosophy that Extension's best asset is strong programs that make a real positive difference in the lives of people at the local level. The legislative contact is designed to present a consistent message and provide opportunities for legislators to provide input into program and organizational direction. The message is that OSU Extension and OARDC are good stewards, the programs have positive impacts on people, certain issues have greater importance in different parts of the state, and legislators are appreciated. This approach has been very successful in the 1990s.
Research in Brief
Using Focus Groups to Identify Rural Participant Needs in Balancing Work and Family Education
Marketing emphasizes understanding the target audience as a prelude to or concomitant with program development. This article illustrates how marketing techniques can be used by Extension to develop programs for the expressed needs of a target population. Six focus groups were conducted to learn the balancing work and family needs of rural residents in a Western state. Results provided program developers valuable information on how a program should be produced, priced, promoted, and where it should be held to attract the largest numbers of participants.
Youth in Rural Community Development: High School Survey Researchers in Immokalee, Florida
A survey of 209 businesses of Immokalee, Florida was undertaken by 51 students in an effort to increase constructive youth involvement in the community. In view of the recommendations of local leaders and published information, the project involved eight principal and sequential activities: creating an Immokalee business directory; developing a survey; learning elementary statistics; learning and practicing survey techniques; understanding and doing public relations and promotions; making and keeping interview/survey appointments with businesses; presenting results; and conducting pre- and post-test evaluation of student participants. Benefits of the study accrue to the business sector, the schools, the students, and the community at large. The project is reviewed focusing on the role of the students.
Identifying Effective and Efficient Methods To Educate Farmers about Soil Sampling
This study compares three educational methods, (a) a slide set, (b) a pamphlet, and (c) a combination of slide set and pamphlet in identifying the most effective and efficient method of the three for educating 99 farmers about soil sampling. Both immediate and delayed post-tests were used in assessing attitudes about soil sampling, gains in immediate and long term knowledge, and preferences for educational methods. Farmers' attitudes did not adversely impact learning. However, farmers did lack prerequisite skills to correctly perform soil sampling. All three Extension methods were found to be effective with the pamphlet being the most efficient.
Ohio State University Extension Agents' Perceptions of Agent Support Teams
The researchers investigated OSU Extension county agents' perceptions of the importance of agent support teams in assisting them with professional growth, program planning and development, and performance evaluation feedback; and the level of support their team actually provided them. The researchers developed a mailed survey to collect data. Findings suggest that Ohio county agents perceive support teams as being important. However, with one exception, mean scores for level of support provided by the teams were consistently lower. This research suggests that the eight conceptual constructs comprising the support team concept could serve as a conceptual framework for Extension education curricula and agent professional development.
Motivating Adult Volunteer 4-H Leaders
The purpose of this study was to determine factors motivating tenured 4-H volunteers to begin and continue volunteer service to 4-H and to identify potential negative motivators influencing them to discontinue their service to 4-H. Data were collected from 279 volunteers at a state-wide recognition banquet via a 4-page, 35-item questionnaire. Motives for beginning and continuing volunteer service to 4-H were similar and focused on an affiliation with either 4-H or 4-H members. Physical inability (or death) and unfulfilled affiliation motives were identified as most likely to cause discontinuation of service.
Ideas at Work
Ag Day 1998
The Extension staff in Iberia Parish (County) felt that in spite of having a population that is 44% rural, school children did not fully appreciate the value of agriculture to the parish. With the assistance of the school superintendent, local government and numerous other collaborators an Ag Day program was created for the parishes 1500 third grade students. Hands-on activities were used to supplement lesson plans provided to classroom teachers in a variety of subjects, ranging from food safety to wetlands conservation.
Century Farm and Ranch Program Honors Historical Farms
The Century Farm and Ranch Program (CFR) provided recognition and honor to farm families that had operated the same land for one hundred years or more. The program was initiated in 1996 as part of the state Centennial celebration. A total of 433 farms and ranches have been honored to date. The CFR recognition includes a gold embossed certificate and a 2 ft. by 3 ft. metal highway sign. The CFR program was also an important tool to tell the non-farm population about agriculture in the state.
Tools of the Trade
Promoting and Organizing Agricultural Extension Meetings
Promoted successfully, the traditional meeting format is still a valuable Extension tool. A crucial step in successful Extension meetings is establishing credibility with clientele. Maintaining quality is important, information taught should be useful, in lay terms, and well presented. Topics should be non-commercial, properly scheduled with a convenient starting time. Timeliness of topics supports program attendance, and programs should be coordinated with local events. Modern visual aids and comfortable, accommodating facilities are important. Establish meetings as a tradition. Never underestimate the need for social interaction. Advance planning and promotion is the most important issue for Extension meetings.
Cloverbud Connections - A Newsletter Approach to Tuning In to Kids
This creative, innovative newsletter, based on current research and developmentally appropriate skills and abilities of five-to-eight year olds, helps 4-H Cloverbud volunteers tune in to kids. Through the headline article, activity section, campus connection, children's recipe, and guest articles, the quarterly newsletter teaches volunteers strategies to keep children engaged and meetings exciting. Developed in response to volunteer requests for more information and support in working with these young 4-H'ers, the newsletter was piloted in 16 Eastern Ohio counties during 1996 and has been distributed statewide since. Descriptive and qualitative evaluation statistics document the effectiveness of the newsletter.