Grants to 4-H professionals from the Ohio 4-H Foundation support a variety of programs that impact youth. Here are two stories about programs funded in 2022.
Campers Learn About Conservation Careers
Each year, Ohio 4-H partners with organizations around the state to introduce youth to new career pathways. Career exploration is a primary goal of the Ohio 4-H Forestry Wildlife Conservation Camp, and last April, 50 youth ages 12 to 18 arrived at Canter’s Cave 4-H Camp to spend a weekend learning about natural resources careers.
Campers participated in hands-on learning activities that taught them about tree identification, tree coring to determine the tree’s age, and wildlife identification. They watched a tree felling demonstration, tried their hand at radio telemetry and harnessed tree climbing, and learned to treat hemlock trees infected with hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect from East Asia. Instructors from Hocking College, OSU Extension, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry led the activities.
During each of the educational sessions, professionals answered questions about college majors and education requirements, and they discussed career opportunities. Tracy Winters, state 4-H educator for shooting sports and natural resources, said "These sessions taught by experts created natural opportunities for youth to learn how they can further their education and find jobs in natural resources careers.”
Participants also took part in traditional 4-H camping fun by cooking outdoors, making nature crafts, line dancing, and playing group games. “The kids really enjoyed fishing, tree climbing, and the wilderness survival hike,” said Winters. “Due to limitations in space, we were only able to accept 50 campers, but with a waiting list of over 25 kids, we hope to expand the program this year.”
Along with support from the Ohio 4-H Foundation, the Ohio 4-H Forestry Wildlife Conservation Camp was made possible through a partnership between OSU Extension, Hocking College, and the ODNR Division of Forestry.
To register for the 2023 Ohio 4-H Forestry Wildlife Conservation Camp or apply to be a 4-H teen counselor, visit our website today. Scholarships are available to help cover a portion of the registration fee on an at-need basis, and applications are due March 1. Youth aged 15 and older who have at least one year of experience as a camp counselor are also encouraged to apply for one of the counselor positions. You can also support the State 4-H Natural Resources Education Support Fund by donating on the giving page.
Teens On-the-Job in Dayton
Since the summer of 2002, the Job Experience and Training (JET) program at Adventure Central in Dayton has offered teens work-based learning opportunities that help them develop skills needed for successful careers. Last year, 11 teens ages 12 to 15, participated in the program and gained meaningful work experience in park-related careers.
Adventure Central is a partnership between The Ohio State University, Ohio 4-H, and Five Rivers MetroParks. For more than 20 years, the program has provided West Dayton children and families with opportunities to change their lives by building positive well-being, higher academic performance, and less involvement in risky behaviors.
Throughout the summer, students worked at Adventure Central, Five Rivers MetroParks headquarters, Second Street Market, and RiverScape MetroPark. The teens were introduced to a variety of experiences, including youth education, nutrition, administration, conservation, and more. Over the course of the eight-week program, the teens gained skills in leadership, time management, and public speaking and learned how to collaborate as a team to conduct successful programming.
Amelie, a JET teen said, “My favorite part of the program was seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces after planning an activity they enjoyed.” Jerome, another JET teen, said, “Talking to the kids and creating bonds with them throughout the summer was great.”
Supervisors at the work sites commended the teens for their hard work and positive attitudes. They appreciated how attentive and receptive the teens were to their work and enjoyed seeing them grow as the weeks progressed.
To learn more about the impact the JET program had on the 2022 participants, watch their reflection video.
This program was made possible through grant funding from the Ohio 4-H Foundation and partnerships with Five Rivers MetroParks, Ohio 4-H, and The Ohio State University. If you would like to support the Ohio 4-H Foundation grants program so that programs like this can continue, please consider donating to the Ohio 4-H Foundation Fund.