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National 4-H Headquarters Announces Two New Programs of Distinction

Jennifer Martin, CSREES Staff, (202) 720-8188

February 14, 2008

National 4-H Headquarters awarded the title of Program of Distinction to two technology-related 4-H programs that reflect the high quality of 4-H youth development programs occurring in communities across the United States.

TerraPod is both an art-and science-based program at Montana State University that helps teens explore science, engineering and technology through the art of film-making.  By creating an original three-to five-minute movie on a science or nature topic, youth are able to improve their awareness and understanding of science facts and concepts.  Since implementation in February 2007, more than 100 youth have participated in the program, including children whose parents are in the military and youth living on an American Indian reservation.  Understanding of science-based concepts among participants has increased from 13 percent to 100 percent.

4-H Tech Wizards is a bilingual, family-supported, after-school program using technology to engage low-income Latino youth in learning basic life and workplace skills. The program, based at Oregon State University, aims to move youth into post-secondary education, productive jobs and careers, and community engagement.  High-tech professionals specializing in emerging technologies connect with youth in a group mentoring setting.  The youth develop skills in Web site development, video and podcast production and geographic information system/global positioning system (GIS/GPS) technologies through real-world situations.  Youth also volunteer 15 hours annually in a technology-related service project.  In the program’s eight years, 95 percent of the participants have completed the program and demonstrated a mastery skill level and 70 percent have pursued post-secondary education.

To qualify as a Program of Distinction, a program must:

  • exhibit strong program development and contribute to the youth development body of knowledge

  • convey new ideas, materials, or innovative methods related to positive youth development

  • represent long-term program efforts and impact data over an extended period of time

  • demonstrate changes in knowledge, behaviors, attitudes or aspirations of 4-H youth and adults

These programs are available online to help others improve their practices in positive youth development.  It is supported by the 4-H system partners and coordinated through National 4-H Headquarters and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES).

CSREES advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. For more information, visit www.csrees.usda.gov.