WASHINGTON D.C. (MAY 21, 2024) – National 4-H Council (Council) today announced a partnership with Atlanta-based businessman and philanthropist, Joel Roth, who provided a $1.1M gift to launch the 4-H Leadership Academy (The Academy). This two-year pilot will provide 25 high school students with employability skills that business leaders seek, including communication, leadership, ethics, conflict resolution and social responsibility.

Known as Roth Scholars, The Academy’s first cohort are participants from five 4-H Cooperative Extension Land Grant Universities.

  • Auburn University: Walton Butterworth, Brianna Fleming, Camryn Humphries, Grayson Randall, Ryan Teague 
  • Rutgers University: Allison Lopez, Katie Mirne, Jennessa Rava, Reeti Rout, Zhihe (Emma) Yin
  • The Ohio State University: Dane Creswell, Makenna Lybarger Campbell Pohlman, Logan Pridemore, Campbell Reese
  • University of Idaho: Ean Gauthie, Adri Hansen, Myka Hansen, Miles Palmer, Cayden Smith
  • University of Minnesota: Samantha Hamm, Jerzy Holdeman, Vivian Lahti, Alena Skinner, Anna Rott

“The 4-H Leadership Academy advances a commitment shared by 4-H and Mr. Roth - to help young people develop the skills they need to prepare for work and life,” said Jill Bramble, President and CEO of National 4-H Council. “We thank Mr. Roth for his gratitude and this avenue to share leadership skills where our young people can learn, grow and be work ready.”

Academy participants will receive stipends to support research projects that address community challenges. In addition, mentors support their learnings in areas such as ethical decision-making, logic and reasoning, conflict resolution, and written and verbal communication. The culmination of the program will see the Roth Scholars implement the lessons learned in the cohort to drive research-based community impact.

“The problems facing our society are getting bigger and bigger, and more and more lasting. It’s increasingly important that we prepare young people to be thoughtful, effective leaders who are well positioned to take on these challenges,” Roth said. “4-H’s national reach, university-backed expertise, network of highly trained educators, in-person and virtual programming options, and longstanding reputation make them the perfect positive youth development partner for this new academy.”

For more information on the 4-H Leadership Academy, or to request interviews with Mr. Roth, National 4-H Council leadership or the Roth Scholars, contact 4hcouncil@ssmandl.com.

About National 4-H Council:

National 4H Council is the private sector non-profit partner of Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program. Our executive team and Board of Trustees are committed to growing the capital investment in positive youth development so that all youth thrive through 4H programs. We champion the belief that young people are leaders today and when given the opportunity to find their spark, work alongside caring adult mentors and use their voice, their potential is endless.

National 4H Council supports national and state 4H programs with a focus on fundraising, brand management, communications, and legal and fiduciary services.

Learn more about 4-H and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Artificial intelligence technologies – specifically generative AI tools – are influencing our lives and our world in profound ways. From enabling new scientific discoveries in fields like genetics and chemistry, to making basic research easier, to helping people in a growing range of jobs work more efficiently, AI is changing how we create, collaborate and communicate with one another. And young people will increasingly become those leading the creation and navigating the consequences of these powerful tools and technologies.

The advent of generative AI also has major implications for the economy and workforce of the future. According to the World Economic Forum, familiarity with AI and big data is already one of the skill sets most sought after by employers. Demand for AI-savvy workers will only increase as these technologies become more advanced and play a bigger role in our daily lives.

Today’s young people are already powerful digital natives who have been introduced to AI and hold some knowledge about its possibilities, according to our new survey. The next generation of leaders adapt to new technological advances with incredible tenacity, and now it is our responsibility as adults to support this fervor. We have six million innovators with the promise and potential to create a future that harnesses powers from AI that we don’t yet grasp.

It is time we supplement this foundational knowledge of AI and expand on how to use it effectively, safely, and responsibly – in the classroom, at home and beyond.

Our survey is the first to examine AI use and understanding among young people (ages 9-17) and shows that young people are optimistic about generative AI’s potential. To help realize this optimism, young people would like adults to help them engage with these tools correctly and confidently.

Here are some key takeaways from the survey:

  • Most young people already have at least a basic understanding of generative AI. Among all youth surveyed, 66% said they know at least some about generative AI; 34% said they know “a great deal” or “a fair amount.”
  • Young people are optimistic about the impact of generative AI on their education and careers. 64% of all respondents agreed that generative AI will help them learn things that they will need to know in their future careers, and 58% said it would help them improve how they learn at school.
  • Young people also have concerns about AI technology, including its potential uses for cheating and privacy issues. 61% of kids agree that AI will make it easier to cheat at school, and 53% expressed concerns that AI could find out private information about them.
  • Young people want adults involved in learning how to use and engage with the AI tools they have used or might use in their lives. An overwhelming number of young people (72%) are seeking support from adults in learning how to use AI tools properly. This includes a majority of both younger children (84% of 9-12 year olds) and teens (63% of 13-17 year olds).

There are several steps we can take to tap into the inherent power of these digital natives and support their understanding of an AI-driven future and economy, even while understanding that the field is evolving and there is so much more we can all learn. Here are a few places to start:

  1. We must meet young people where they are by having open, honest conversations about online safety at ages that reflect the reality of their current use of technology. According to research from the Pew Research Center, children in the United States begin interacting with digital devices at young ages. Our research identified a major gap between older and younger children in terms of their familiarity with AI – high school boys are most likely to express a strong understanding of generative AI (43%), whereas girls in elementary school are least likely (22%). As young people start to experiment with using digital technologies, we need to prepare them how to use these tools, including generative AI, responsibly.
  2. We need to equip parents and teachers with resources to support young people in their journey to understand and use new technology safely and responsibly. This is essential if we want to succeed in laying a strong, early foundation of AI education for our youth particularly as more parents start talking to their kids about AI and as teachers look to incorporate discussions about AI – and AI technology itself – into the classroom.
  3. We must make access to generative AI tools inclusive so that everyone can benefit, and no communities are left behind. For example, while 38% of urban youth and 36% of suburban youth say they know a great deal or fair amount about generative AI, that number drops to 28% among their rural counterparts. This shows the potential for a forthcoming digital divide on AI that is exacerbated by geography. If we want to give all young people a chance to thrive in the years to come, we must ensure that opportunities to learn about and engage with AI are available no matter your geography or background.

Both of our organizations are taking steps to provide support on AI for adults and young people. National 4-H Council is looking to develop educational content about AI through the new CLOVER digital learning platform, local Cooperative Extension 4-H programs, and our connection to 110 universities nationwide. Microsoft recently released a Family Safety Toolkit to support caregivers’ conversations with their children about generative AI, as well as a Classroom Toolkit, providing guidance to educators on creating an immersive and effective learning experience with generative AI for students aged 13-15 years.

As a next phase of our partnership, 4-H will be conducting a series of focus groups with members to dive deeper into the survey results. Our goal with these sessions is to gain a greater understanding of how different communities and ages are using these tools and how we can help them succeed. We will share our findings publicly so that everyone can benefit from the insights.

Preparing young people for the workforce of the future means doing our due diligence as adults to build upon their natural fluency for technology and provide the resources they need to understand generative AI. It’s on all of us to ensure that the youth in our lives are set up to thrive and understand how to leverage these new technologies that are reshaping our world.

During my first year of high school, I represented 4-H at a local elementary school for Ag Literacy Week. While reading the book "How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?", I shared my childhood experience of growing up on a dairy farm. The students expressed their need for more understanding of agriculture. As I shared stories of living on a farm and my future goal of attending a four-year University to study animal genetics with the ultimate plan of becoming a lawyer, students became enthusiastic and excited to learn more about agriculture, farming, and the environment around them. I vividly remember Camille, a girl who looked like me, raising her hand and saying, "I love science and animals too, but I can't be a farmer or do what you want to do because I live in an apartment."

This conversation motivated me to create a solution for diverse and rural youth in my community to have access to agriculture and agriculture-related careers. As 4-H Honor President and a student member of the county's school board, I developed and honed communication and relationship-building skills to make my dream a reality. With the help of my 4-H agent, we assembled a Youth in Ag team that included our county mayor, ag committee members, county commissioners, and school board members.

AGWeek1

During our first meeting, I shared my experience reading to students and emphasized the need to create opportunities for youth in our community. We discussed the project's goals, which included helping participants develop a solid understanding and framework of what agriculture is, exposing them to careers in agriculture, and developing relationships with key industries and individuals to increase awareness of the project. We also arranged a schedule of events, school bus transportation, and potential costs. The project we developed was called "See Yourself in Ag," which aimed to connect diverse youth to successful individuals in our community to highlight the importance of persistence, resilience, and individuality, specifically in the workplace.

"We've been able to reach and empower more youth through the See Yourself in Ag project, which encourages youth to see their place in agriculture and understand their tangible value."

With the help of critical individuals, I secured donor and volunteer investments through relationship-building. When scheduling event dates, I engaged a wide range of various individuals and businesses instead of solely on farmers. I also utilized local agricultural industries to showcase all sides of agriculture, including science, profit, animals, crops, etc. The goal was to understand the many diverse aspects and roles within agriculture, not just farming.

AGWeek2

We've been able to reach and empower more youth through the See Yourself in Ag project, which encourages youth to see their place in agriculture and understand their tangible value. My biggest goal is to inspire youth like Camille to realize they belong and to create equitable opportunities for youth to be exposed to agriculture. I believe that creating a space for others to belong doesn't require anything special other than knowing your strengths and having a passion for it. I know that See Yourself in Ag is only possible due to the voice, belonging, and knowledge that 4-H has given me.

Join me in celebrating Ag Week! Are you interested in learning more about ag? Explore some of these awesome CLOVER activities or discover my favorite items on Shop 4-H.

 

First-ever survey to examine tween and teen use of AI finds children think generative AI will benefit their education and careers, but express concerns about cheating and privacy

WASHINGTON, DC (February 29, 2024) – National 4-H Council today released a survey that explores young people’s knowledge and use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, specifically generative AI tools such as ChatGPT. The survey shows that while most young people (66%) express at least some understanding of what generative AI is and how it can be used, many kids (72%) are also seeking support from adults in learning how to use these tools correctly and with confidence.

The survey, the first of its kind to include responses from both tweens and teenagers (ages 9-17), also finds that young people are broadly optimistic about the potential of generative AI for their education and careers. A strong majority of respondents (64%) agreed that generative AI will help them learn things that they will need to know in their future careers, and 58% said it would help them improve how they learn at school. However, respondents also have concerns about AI, including how the technology could be used for cheating (61%) or to expose private information about them (53%).

The survey, which included 1,510 children ages 9-17, was fielded from November 5-16, 2023 by Hart Research and supported by Microsoft.

“As America’s largest youth development organization, 4-H has an important role to play in educating youth about generative AI. Preparing young people for the workforce of the future means ensuring that they have a solid understanding of these new technologies that are reshaping our world,” said Jill Bramble, President and CEO of National 4-H Council. “We are focused on meeting this need through educational content on CLOVER, our new digital learning platform, and through 4-H’s Cooperative Extension in-person programs.”

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Most kids say they know something about generative AI, but this knowledge is limited. Among all youth surveyed, 34% said they know “a great deal” or “a fair amount” about generative AI, while an equal number said they know “very little” or “nothing at all.” 32% said they know at least some about generative AI.
  • Kids want adults involved in learning how to use and engage with the AI tools they have used or might use in their lives. Over seven in 10 kids (72%) that use AI would like at least some help from adults in learning how to use different tools. This number was particularly high among younger children (84% of 9-12 year olds, compared to 63% of 13-17 year olds.)
  • Young people involved in 4-H are particularly likely to have used generative AI. 60% of 4-Hers say they have used generative AI tools like ChatGPT, compared to 50% of all boys and 44% of all girls. This marks one of the highest totals among all sub-groups measured.
  • There are notable differences regarding generative AI understanding and use along demographic lines:
    • In terms of race and ethnicity, Black and Latino kids (74% and 67%) are more likely than White kids (60%) to see the positive impact of AI on their education and career.
    • High school boys are the most likely to express a strong understanding of generative AI (43%), while girls in elementary school are the least likely (22%.)
    • While 38% of urban kids and 36% of suburban kids say they know a great deal or fair amount about generative AI, that number drops to 28% among rural children.

“Like with any new technology, we need to educate, empower and equip young people with the necessary skills to use generative AI in a responsible way,” said Courtney Gregoire, Chief Digital Safety Officer at Microsoft. “4-H’s findings help us all understand how youth are using these new tools. We welcome these insights as we continue to evolve our approach and provide additional resources to those who need them.”

The survey was designed and reviewed in a process involving experts from 4-H and University of California-Irvine. The survey was preceded by ten cognitive interviews with children within the target age group in October 2023 to test and refine the survey instrument. Children ages 9-12 were recruited exclusively through invitations sent initially to their parents or caregivers asking permission for them to participate. Children ages 13-17 were recruited directly.

To help children, educators and caregivers navigate conversations around generative AI, Microsoft recently released two new resources: a Family Safety Toolkit, which provides tips to caregivers on how to have conversations with children about generative AI, and a Classroom Toolkit, to equip educators with instructional information to create an immersive and effective learning experience with generative AI for students aged 13-15 years.

About National 4-H Council:

National 4‑H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program. Our executive team and Board of Trustees are committed to growing the capital investment in positive youth development so that all youth have the opportunity to thrive through 4‑H programs. We champion the belief that young people are leaders today and when given the opportunity to find their spark, work alongside caring adult mentors and use their voice, their potential is endless.

National 4‑H Council supports national and state 4‑H programs with a focus on fundraising, brand management, communications, and legal and fiduciary services.

Learn more about 4-H and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

It was an action-packed 2023, with the 4-H team and our incredible partners again showing what's possible when we work together to prepare our youth for their future! Our shared commitment to fostering success, empowerment, and community engagement will continue inspiring millions of kids to find their spark and explore their passion in 2024, creating impact in every corner of the country.

4-H launched the year with our inaugural event, Ignite by 4-H. This four-day teen event saw over 700 youth from around the country visit Washington, D.C., for inspiring panels, speakers, workshops, and entertainment, all while creating important connections with peers, educators, and industry leaders. The event was so successful that 2024 Ignite is already sold out – with a 30% increase in capacity!

Our PYD Academies, which equip 4-H educators with the essential knowledge and skills to plan, implement, and evaluate high-quality 4-H programs that help youth thrive, also grew out of their pilot stage. This year, the Academies will feature new multi-day, multi-session Academies and half-day Immersions. Given the excellent evaluations, attendance is projected to grow 15-20% for the next three years.

The eLearning team was busy with the successful launch of CLOVER by 4-H, bringing hybrid PYD to thousands of kids nationwide. We're aiming for 35% year-on-year growth in platform users and an increase in activities from 187 to over 300 over the next three years.

And what would summer be without camp? When it comes to providing a child with a life-changing experience, there's nothing quite like 4-H camp, which provides the full benefits of a 4-H experience coupled with the fun and wonder of camping in the great outdoors. By giving kids the gift of a 4-H camp experience, our partners enable them to experience activities outside their comfort zones, helping them become more resilient, independent, and better able to plan and reach their long-term goals.

The Cause Marketing team was hard at work in 2023, bringing two new partners on board, Crayola Flowers and Solvet; having a record-breaking year with JOANN, which raised $1.2M for 4-H; and reaching a massive milestone with Tractor Supply, which has raised $20M over the 13-year partnership! The funds generated from these campaigns ensure that young people nationwide can access our transformative programming. In the coming months, we are looking forward to a new 4-H offering from our friends at BOGS Boots and continuing to celebrate incredible 4-H'ers through the Georgia Boot Trailblazer program.

We look forward to working with new partners this year to continue to bring opportunity to all kids.

On the STEM side, one of the standout successes of 2023 was the Google Coding Camps, which were held in rural and underserved communities to link young people to technology, resources, and training. The participants expressed newfound enthusiasm for technology and a heightened interest in pursuing STEM-related fields, which is critical given that jobs in STEM fields are expected to grow twice as fast as non-STEM occupations in the coming years.

4-H is Looking Forward

Our research has shown that kids lack the essential skills they will need to thrive, like analytical thinking, resilience, and adaptability, which is why our 2024-2027 strategic plan will focus on nurturing the emotional well-being of youth while building a talent pipeline of young people who are ready to solve society's most significant challenges.

Thanks to the support of our partners, 2024 promises to be another successful year for our six million 4-H'ers, 3,500 educators, 500,000 volunteers, and 35 million alums! Like 2023, this year will be marked by innovative programs, impactful partnerships, and record-breaking achievements. From empowering youth with coding skills to spreading joy through artistic expression, from record-breaking fundraisers to monumental milestones in collaboration with our corporate partners, we can't wait to empower millions more leaders of tomorrow.

 

*No endorsement by 4-H is implied or intended.

Four young leaders from across the country receive $5,000 scholarships for outstanding achievements and community impact

WASHINGTON, DC (October 2, 2023) – National 4-H Council today announced the winners of the 2024 Youth In Action Awards, a national program sponsored by Bayer that recognizes four diverse young leaders who have made a positive impact in their communities.

The winners will each receive a $5,000 higher education scholarship and spend 2024 inspiring other youth by telling their 4-H story. In addition, they will have opportunities to showcase their work nationally, network with prominent 4‑H alumni, and serve as official 4-H spokespeople for Youth in Action.

The announcement was made during National 4-H Week, held October 1-7, 2023 to celebrate and showcase the opportunities and impact that 4‑H offers young people across the country.

The winners of the 2024 4-H Youth in Action Awards are:

  • Katie Collins, 19, Charlotte, Tennessee: Growing up as a mixed-race girl on a dairy farm, Collins often felt like she didn’t quite fit in. In 4-H, she found a sense of belonging and an outlet to be her true self. Collins has since completed hundreds of hours of leadership training and dairy-related volunteer work. Through her leadership as 4-H Honor President, Collins created See Yourself in Ag, a program designed to expose diverse and rural youth to the many aspects of agriculture and ag-related careers. Her program has reached more than 672 4-H’ers, successfully introducing a diverse audience of young people to the agricultural industry; 53 percent of participants were female, and 68 percent were young people of color.
  • Amiyah Elam, 17, Waycross, Georgia: Self-described as a little girl with a big voice, Amiyah found a way to amplify her voice through Georgia 4-H and its prestigious show choir, Clovers & Company. With a desire to have a positive impact on young girls in her hometown, she developed “I AM,” a nonprofit focused on mentoring at-risk girls by equipping them with opportunities, skills development, and confidence. Elam’s program empowers students through lessons in emotional wellness, self-care, personal finance, and career readiness. Amiyah’s  partnership with local nonprofits and professionals in their monthly meetings has instilled confidence and self-worth in the participating girls.
  • Harold “Reed” Marcum, 18, McAlester, Oklahoma: After facing struggles around social anxiety and speaking because of his ADHD, Marcum gained confidence and found his voice in 4-H. He used his newfound courage to organize programs to address the needs of his community, organizing multiple annual events including a Book Bag giveaway and Toy Drive that benefit underserved populations in McAlester. After a young neighbor lost his life to pediatric cancer, he started a foundation and organized an annual silent auction to raise funds for pediatric cancer research and supporting affected families. Marcum’s community has rallied around his leadership, allowing him to grow his projects exponentially every year, estimating a total donation and fundraising efforts close to $3.5 million overall.
  • Avani Rai, 17, Bloomington, Illinois: After witnessing the shortcomings of addressing food insecurity in her community at a young age, Rai became an integral part of 4-H’s Food Advocacy Team, a youth-led initiative to improve equitable access to healthy foods and champion food security. Avani and team organized healthy food drives, meal packaging events, and educated others through community seminars. Avani later expanded her service to overall healthy living, including mental and physical health through yoga. Reaching all elementary schools in her district, Avani’s ‘Super Yoga’ curriculum has been shared with more than 1,300 children. She has also served on the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s USDA-Sponsored Local Food Purchase committee and spoke on a roundtable alongside Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.

“The 2024 Youth in Action Awards honor four incredible young people, each of whom are model examples of their generation – embodying a commitment to service, a love of their communities and a passion for leadership that represent the best of 4-H,” said Jill Bramble, President & CEO, National 4-H Council. “We are proud that Cooperative Extension’s 4-H programs have offered Katie, Amiyah, Reed, and Avani these opportunities to lead and tools to succeed, which they have used to make a positive impact on their communities and inspire other 4-H’ers to do the same.”

The 4-H Youth in Action Awards, sponsored in part by Bayer, began in 2010 to recognize young people  who overcome challenges and use the knowledge they gain through participation in 4-H to create a lasting impact in their community.

To learn more about Youth in Action, please visit http://4-h.org/parents/4-h-youth-in-action/.

ABOUT 4-H

4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for careers tomorrow. 4-H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation’s Cooperative Extension System and USDA and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4-H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4-H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. Learn more about 4H at 4-H.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

ABOUT BAYER

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of healthcare and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth, and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2015, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of EUR 46.3 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.3 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com/.

Today’s youth are digital natives who strive to make their mark. In 4-H we’re deeply committed to providing them with the tools to thrive, regardless of their circumstances. It’s why we built CLOVER by 4-H, our new e-learning platform, which features content from more than 100 land-grant universities across Cooperative Extension to encourage hands-on learning for young people.

This month, we’re joining forces with Netflix on a CLOVER by 4-H x Spy Kids: Armageddon collaboration that leverages the power of technology and entertainment to spark curiosity, creativity, and learning – anytime, anywhere.

Premiering on Netflix today, Spy Kids: Armageddon was written, produced, and directed by Robert Rodriguez and stars Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Everly Carganilla, and Connor Esterson. As a proud Latino, on this Hispanic Heritage Month, I’m incredibly honored to be associated with this partnership. The guiding principle behind this partnership is simple: harness the power of entertainment and education to instill a passion for STEM in young minds.

Drawing inspiration from the thrilling adventures of the film, 4-H has crafted a compelling virtual escape room debuting on CLOVER today. #GAMECLOVER is a bespoke activity developed by Utah State University Extension that exposes kids to the magic of game design and programming. By engaging with this activity, learners will discover how the fascinating world of gaming seamlessly intertwines with the realms of mathematics, coding, and physics.

To help get into ‘spy mode’, Robert Rodriguez lent his voice and talents to CLOVER promotional content encouraging all kids and their parents to ‘level up’ with #GAMECLOVER. Netflix also extended exclusive invites to select screenings of the film before its release on the streaming platform. 4-H kids and families in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and Pittsburgh were treated to a unique experience that was more than just entertainment. By providing an early glimpse, Netflix helped us leave a profound impression on young, STEM-curious hearts and minds.

Netflix_CLOVER_FB_IG-Post-3-1080x1080---9_12

The collaboration between 4-H and Netflix through Spy Kids: Armageddon and CLOVER by 4-H is a testament to the boundless possibilities that emerge when purpose-driven organizations and influential brands unite their resources.

#GAMECLOVER is just one example of the content on CLOVER that highlights the excitement and innovation that accompany fields such as engineering, technology, and space exploration. Our hope is that CLOVER inspires a generation of future scientists, engineers, and inventors.

Here’s a snapshot of what families can expect from the platform:

  • 20 Learning Categories: With lessons spanning computer science, cooking & baking, personal finance, animal science, robotics, and more, CLOVER caters to a diverse range of ages and interests. Examples include:
    • Cipher Space – Brought to you by Clemson University and United States Space Force
    • Build a Nest for Native Bees – Brought to you by Iowa State University and USDA
    • Charge It! – Brought to you by University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Charles Schwab
  • Expert-Driven Content: Backed by top-tier experts from Cooperative Extension and leading land grant-universities (including HBCUs), CLOVER’s content ensures high-quality learning experiences.
  • Interactive Engagement: CLOVER turns learning into an adventure. It’s not just about absorbing information; it’s about engaging with it through interactive activities, some even featuring gamified content and augmented reality.
  • Virtual Meets Reality: CLOVER goes beyond the virtual realm, as a tool that can be integrated with local 4-H clubs to bridge the gap between online learning and real-world engagement.
  • More Computer Science: Thanks to our partners at Google, over 40 exciting activities focused on computer science pathways are coming to CLOVER in 2024.

CLOVER gives us an exciting new tool to help shape a world where curiosity thrives, innovation reigns, and young minds emerge as the torchbearers of progress. Together, we can inspire, educate, and empower the next generation of trailblazers, problem solvers, and changemakers.

Join us in shaping a future where innovation knows no bounds!

#Opportunity4All

As the mom of two Gen Z children, I know firsthand the challenges that our young people are facing, from the lingering impacts of the global pandemic and an ongoing mental health crisis, to the ever-evolving technological landscape. But, even in the face of tremendous change and uncertainty, this young generation has incredible promise: they are filled with purpose, they embrace diversity, they care about their communities, and they drive innovation.

In 4-H, we believe opportunity should not be pre-determined by any person’s circumstance. Our mission is to inspire all young people to thrive and achieve. Too many of America’s youth are lacking the opportunities that prepare them to lead in life and career. That’s why we are thrilled to bring Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program to even more young people with CLOVER by 4-H.

CLOVER is a digital learning platform that encourages hands-on learning in a fun and accessible way. Developed by Cooperative Extension and our network of land-grant universities, CLOVER’s content spans more than 20 subject areas, including STEM, emotional wellbeing, financial literacy, and career readiness. With both free and paid subscriptions, CLOVER is another way to ensure that young people everywhere have access to high-quality 4-H programming.

Key Things to Know About CLOVER

  • 220+ online activities: CLOVER has a robust catalog of exciting activities for everyone ages 5-18.
  • Content developed by experts at Cooperative Extension and our network of land-grant universities: From space exploration to the science of pollination to stress management, the information and activities provided through CLOVER come directly from some of the nation’s top academics, innovators, and leaders in these fields.
  • Interactive content and gamification: CLOVER is designed to be as fun and rewarding as it is educational. Users can customize their CLOVER experience to their interests and earn pins as they complete the interactive activities, some of which include gamified content and augmented reality.
  • Integration with local 4-H clubs: Linking online learning with real-life programming at 4-H clubs, CLOVER goes steps beyond basic math and reading platforms to spark young people’s passion for learning and prepare them for success in their lives. The data from CLOVER users will also inform local 4-H programming to create an integrated, educational environment for all 4-H’ers.

To kick off the launch of CLOVER, we have partnered with Netflix on an activity tied to the new movie Spy Kids: Armageddon. #GAMECLOVER builds on key themes of the movie by teaching young people the basics of coding and game design using an ‘escape room’ format. By expanding upon the popular Spy Kids experience, the #GAMECLOVER activity is an approachable way for kids to take an interest in STEM.

In the coming months, CLOVER users can continue their online STEM education with a collection of computer science activities ranging from computer basics to augmented reality, supported by Google.

CLOVER furthers our mission of equipping millions of 4-H’ers with the skills and confidence they need to excel in future careers and help solve the world’s biggest challenges. We look forward to seeing young people use CLOVER to spark creativity, explore future career paths, and grow their passion for learning.

To discover more and sign up for CLOVER, visit 4-h.org/clover.

Conversations with more than 80 funders, nonprofit leaders, and other experts highlight the urgency and mindset shifts needed to unlock capital and invest in the region.

BOSTON—August 24, 2023—Funders with fresh mindsets have a timely opportunity to invest in the Black rural South and help the region access large-scale funding that has the potential to fuel economic mobility, according to a new research study published today by The Bridgespan Group and National 4-H Council.

Of the approximately 200 rural counties in the South with Black populations of 25 percent or more (“the Black rural South”), all but two land in the bottom half for upward mobility for young people, previous Bridgespan and National 4-H Council research found. Yet these communities, with rich social and cultural capital, have contributed disproportionately to building the nation’s wealth and have tremendous ability to continue contributing to opportunity in our country with investment, particularly in our youth.

Mike Soskis, Bridgespan principal and co-author of the report, says, “The opportunities for impact are there: We’re seeing some funders moving from framings or misconceptions that deter investment to mindsets that can help fuel economic mobility for young people. And they’re noticing the tremendous opportunities and leaders in the region.”

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, approximately 30 percent of Black residents in non-metro areas live in poverty—a higher rate than any other race or ethnic group, urban or non-urban.

The Black rural South also sits at the intersection of three philanthropic funding challenges, according to the new study: Rural communities see less funding than their metro counterparts; the South has historically been substantially underfunded; and leaders of color systemically receive less funding than white leaders.

“Still, in our conversations with more than 80 funders, nonprofit leaders, 4-H staff at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), researchers, and field experts, we found much to be excited about: Caring communities and innovative organizations are employing a number of promising approaches to support economic mobility for young people in the Black rural South,” says Angie Estevez Prada, Bridgespan consultant and report co-author.

The report highlights examples from leading funders in the region and articulates four mindset shifts more philanthropists must make to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that exist:

  1. The Black rural South is likely more integral to funders’ existing work than it might appear—and worthy of a special look. Funders seeking to move the needle on equity and economic mobility in the U.S. cannot be successful without addressing this high-need region, which is closely tied to the country as a whole through migration and wide-reaching public policy.
  2. One committed funder can make a difference while field testing approaches for more enduring change. There are many entry points for funding, including strengthening schools, broadband access, cradle-to-career supports, and even direct cash transfers. Each opportunity needs more funding to test which strategies will work best in places of persistent poverty.
  3. The social return on investment in the Black rural South is high if philanthropy is willing to think about impact differently. Advancing economic mobility in the Black rural South requires depth, not breadth. Funders willing to invest in smaller populations and exercise staying power can reach entire communities and truly change systems.
  4. Funders have excellent partners for giving in the Black rural South—if they know where to look. Funding in the region is highly relational; many local intermediaries know what communities want and need and can work with movement leaders to direct funding. The report highlights potential partners, including HBCUs and national networks with affiliates in the region, that are already working with young people–and could do much more with additional funding.

“Creating pathways to opportunity for young people in the Black rural South is difficult. But for funders willing to adopt these mindsets, this is an area where even one funder, especially one funder, can help enact positive change,” says Tay Moore, former member of National 4-H Council’s Youth Alumni Advisory Committee and Board of Trustees. “The Black rural South is ready. The region is hungry for change and deserving of investment.”

mel-thompson-1

Melvin John Thompson was a genuine, 4-H-grown leader. He taught teens how to pursue peace through understanding and to strengthen ties through civic engagement. He turned the power of positive youth development – which was central to his life – into a catalyst for change in the international community. While I didn’t have the pleasure of working with Mel, I’ve seen the beautiful fruits of his labor.

During my career at National 4-H Council, I’ve met countless prominent alumni who were inspired by his passion, influenced by his leadership, and impacted by his mentorship. From government officials to corporate leaders in agriculture, he instilled in others the importance of service and connection while sharing from his abundance of knowledge.

Mel’s leadership of the International 4-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) Association is legendary. The program attracted high levels of talent and gained prominence in Washington under his management; but even so, Mel was humble about his role in its success – always pointing to the incredible accomplishments of our 4-H youth. Over the course of 20 years, Mel empowered thousands of young people to have an integral role in international relations.

Mel passed away last month leaving behind his beloved family and a powerful legacy. I asked Don Floyd – Former President and CEO of National 4-H Council and a personal friend and mentor – to share his memories of Mel. Here are his reflections:

By the time I joined National 4-H Council in 1991, Mel was already retired from his work with IFYE. Everyone knew Mel as the thoughtful mentor, the guru, the father figure. He meant so much to these young 4-H’ers who were part of the international program.

When I started exploring the potential of a Global 4-H Network with 4-H programs around the world in the mid-2000s , Mel was the wise counselor who helped me navigate international waters. He had a particularly warm spot for Council from his time as an associate and had a deep understanding of 4-H, so he wanted to do what he could to help our programs succeed. One of the ways he did this was by introducing us to the right people. For example, he connected me with Ambassador Dan Mozena at the State Department. Dan would open doors for me and for Council like you wouldn’t believe – and that’s all through the connection with Mel.

Mel would do anything for “the Clover” and always had his heart in the right place. It was a pleasure to know him and an honor to partner with him in creating a better world for young people through 4-H.

4-H was a family tradition for Mel. His great grandmother started the Ravenna 4-H Club in 1925 and his mother was heavily involved in 4-H. He joined as a young boy in 1943, won the State 4-H Achievement Award in 1951, worked for Michigan State University Extension for many years, and then went on to hold leadership roles within 4-H at both the national and international level. His accomplishments didn’t go unnoticed, as he was inducted into Michigan State University’s Emerald Clover Society and the National 4-H Hall of Fame.

In fact, Mel’s foundational 4-H experience is part of what made him an incredible leader with unparalleled character and integrity. During his Hall of Fame induction in 2012, Mel shared that 4-H “provided the whole focus for [his] life.” I’m so grateful that, for all that he credits to his 4-H experience, he chose to give back to 4-H youth and the global community ten-fold.

Mel will be remembered for many things: for his character, his friendship, his military service, his prominent roles in 4-H and the U.S. Peace Corps, and even for his “Michigan-famous 4-H Pineapple Upside Down Cake Demonstration.” But the most enduring part of this legacy is the profound impact he had on so many lives, young and old alike.

When someone makes a positive difference that has outward influence, it’s often called a “ripple effect.” And for Mel, those ripples have crossed oceans – bringing youth together from across the globe – and will continue to spread as his legacy impacts generations to come.

group-pic