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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Ohio teens find their spark at Ignite by 4-H

Ohio 4-H Health HEROES gather for a photo at Ignite by 4-H.

Ohio teens built new connections and found their sparks as they explored the best 4-H has to offer in STEM, Agriscience, Healthy Living, and Career Readiness at the 2024 Ignite by 4-H National Youth Summit. During this four-day experience, 4-H members from across the state participated in educational workshops, heard from speakers, and developed and shared their very own Lead to Change community action plans.

Twenty-one Ohio 4-H youth participated in Ignite’s STEM track and explored the latest advancements in STEM fields through workshops and engaging presentations. “The summit offered a dynamic platform for these young leaders and fostered a sense of collaboration and community development,” said Mark Ohio 4-H'ers participate in a flight simulator as a part of the STEM track.Light, Ohio 4-H STEM and digital engagement innovations leader.

Throughout the summit, teens spent time creating community action plans to address pressing issues in their home counties. For five teens from Lawrence County, their action plan focused on ways to implement STEAAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Agriculture, and Mathematics) activities and experiences in local elementary schools through teen teaching. The Ohio 4-H STEM participants returned not only with a thirst for knowledge, but also with the Lawrence County teens presenting their community action plan at the summit.confidence and tools to turn their ideas into reality.

Morrow County was well-represented at Ignite as six youth participated in the Agriscience track. Teens heard from experts in the agriculture community and participated in hands-on educational opportunities as they learned about the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the challenges facing agriculture, food security, and sustainability in their communities. “The summit opened me up to a bunch of career options,” said Morrow County 4-H’er Kage Hamilton. “I really enjoyed the session where we learned about different cultures and the food associated with them.”

Ohio 4-H Health HEROES were represented at Ignite by four teens who participated in healthy living workshops. Sessions addressed topics related to mental, physical, emotional, social, and environmental health and gave youth the opportunity to learn 4-H'ers making salsa during the Healthy Living track skills through hands-on activities and presentations. “The workshops helped improve my preexisting leadership and public speaking skills and taught me so many new things about substance abuse, mental health, and healthy food options,” said Anam Havan, a 4-H member from Pickaway County.

Ohio also sent a delegation of four youth from the Franklin County Urban ROOTS program, an experiential learning opportunity for youth in the urban core of Franklin County focused on teaching youth about food, agriculture, the environment, and related technologies in their lives. The teens participated in the STEM and Healthy Living tracks and explored new career connections as they learned about positions in the finance, trade, and marketing industries.

“I loved the trip so much,” said one Urban ROOTS teen. “I enjoyed meeting new people and learning even more Teens in the Ohio 4-H Urban ROOTS program smile for a photo at Ignite by 4-H.about 4-H and agriculture. I’m beyond grateful for the experience.” Solomon Garner, Extension lead coordinator for the Urban ROOTS program shared that while at Ignite the teens also participated in a Regional Youth Leadership Team alongside youth from eight other states. “They worked with youth across the country to identify ways to increase disadvantaged youth’s awareness of and participation in agricultural programs and career awareness,” he said.

Ohio youth were able to participate in the 2024 Ignite by 4-H Summit through funding from a variety of sources, including grants from the Ohio 4-H Foundation and sponsorships from Corteva, Google, Nationwide, and Nutrien. Thanks to these investments in the future of Ohio, youth continue to grow, develop, and discover a newfound enthusiasm for bettering their communities and the world around them.