For 4-H members, summer is all about camping, project work and county fairs, but for many 4-H’ers, this summer will also include the opportunity to explore coding, computers and creativity.
Clovers CODE (Creating Opportunities Designed for Everyone) began in 2019 as part of the Apple Community Education Initiative and the effort to introduce youth to problem-solving, computer literacy and coding through hands-on activities.
This summer, 4-H professionals offering Clovers CODE programs will be at overnight camps, day camp programs, pop-up events, and county fairs. According to Dr. Mark Light, 4-H STEM specialist, technology-related 4-H programs are growing in popularity. “STEM-based projects are the second largest project area in Ohio. Kids use technology every day, not just during the school year. Our goal is to help them continue that creative process through the summer.”
Youth at the William H. Adams Community Center in Columbus started with Clovers CODE in January. Not only are these youth experiencing 4-H for the first time and learning what it means to be a 4-H member, they are also learning valuable technology skills. One youth said, “I tell all my friends at school that I get to code robots!”
Just a few years ago, the center was only able to offer basketball and homework help after school, but that changed with Clovers CODE. “A lot of our children have never experienced this type of program. This is huge for our students and a blessing that 4-H brought to us,” said SirGregory Powell, the center director.
These students and youth throughout Ohio will continue learning this summer thanks to funding from the Ohio Department of Education. The Clovers CODE program will hire additional staff who will bring the experience to more youth, along with creating a new mobile technology lab. The 4-H bus will travel throughout the state, introducing Clovers CODE at camps and county fairs, including those counties not currently involved with the program.