September 16, 2019
Reflections on Program Year 2019
The Kansas State Fair marks the symbolic conclusion of the 2019 program year and therefore I purpose to recall how we have progressed as a movement and organization. I am so thankful for the team of youth, parents, volunteers, KSRE professionals (local, regional and state), Extension boards, and Kansas 4-H Foundation/Rock Springs Ranch professionals who help move the 4-H program forward each and every day in our great state.
This past year has been characterized by laying key foundations for greater program impact and growth. I will recall a sampling of program impacts in various Kansas 4-H audiences below that I feel will position the 4-H program for greater success locally and across the state.
Engaging Youth –
• Year Two of the Science of Agriculture Challenge – innovative partnership with Department of Agriculture and Cargill to enable teams to engage in community based problem solving, data collection, and career relevance.
• National Grant Acquisition – National Mentoring grant in Brown County to partner with tribal audiences in 4-H Youth Development programming; Ag Innovators Grant in Dickinson County to engage over 1300 youth about Native Bees; Johnson County partnering with Bayer USA for the second year in the Science Matter career and content immersion program with their Shawnee vet medicine facility. Johnson County also received the National Google grant to pilot computer science programming.
• A substantive increase in youth accommodations requests for state events and camp due to a more streamlined request process.
• Pilot of Conversation Boot Camp to increase communication and facilitation skills training available to youth.
Empowering Volunteers –
• At the conclusion of the Expansion Grant sponsored by the Kansas 4-H Foundation, facilitator Ron Alexander led volunteers and action team members through a skill building workshop that enabled higher quality applications to the Innovation Grant request process (sponsored by the Kansas 4-H Foundation).
Equipping Professionals –
• Updated financial policies related to EINs for clubs due to IRS changes
• Top to bottom reevaluation of the volunteer screening process. Clarifying roles and processes of local units and state 4-H office
• Provided resources related to the Essential Elements of Positive Youth Development and Facilitation skills to each participant at Program Rally in Wichita (courtesy of the Kansas 4-H Foundation).
• First full year of revised PFT action plans now with evaluation tools for use with communication and community vitality programming.
• Project Pathway Creation in conjunction with Project Tip sheet formations and the 4-H Formula
• 4-H Policy and Code of Conduct Revisions (in process)
• Camp Task Force (in progress)
• 4-H Shooting Sports Education policy and state plan updates
• Food Science programming analysis and project helps (in progress)
Expanding Partnerships -
• Food Science Institute
• Staley School of Leadership Studies at K-State
• Kansas Afterschool Enrichment Network
• Reconnect with Kansas WHEP program
• Master Homemakers Investment in the Food Science revisions process
As we move into programming year 2020, I am looking forward to greater program developments in Project supports and enhancements, Volunteer Development, and Community Club supports around program essentials. Specifically, I am look forward to the system-wide discussion about the latest in Thriving Youth Development research with Dr. Mary Arnold during 4-H Program Rally in Wichita at the end of January 2020. This research is impacting discussions around the country about how to evaluate 4-H practice, shape future training and resource development for professionals and volunteers. This research will provide even greater insight into attitudes and actions necessary to grow true leaders through Kansas 4-H.
This next year, expect to see an emphasis upon positive youth development essentials, communications skill development, community club tools, and additional resources for Cloverbud program development.
It is an honor to labor with you all and I thank you again for your partnership in this great work of 4-H Youth Development in Kansas! Let’s go make the best better together in 2020!