4-H Youth

Community Promise Week – Thank You Volunteers!

To celebrate our amazing volunteers, we are recognizing the work they’ve done. This April 24-30 is our #CommunityPromiseWeek, where we’ll be highlighting a few key leaders that make our programs possible. Thank you to Carol, Sandy, Ellen, Kim, Peg and Rich for all that you do! Stay tuned throughout the week as we highlight more of our volunteers.

Carol LeBlanc Sandy Eggers

 

Ellen PaineKim Osga

Peg HallRick Page

4-H Mentoring Continues Serving Youth 

Antwon with his 4-H mentoring awardsYouth in Waterbury continued benefitting from the 4-H Mentoring project during the pandemic. The 4-H Mentoring Project is a prevention program where youth gain knowledge, build character, and develop life skills. It is a fun learning environment that helps them become self-directing, productive members of society.  

Approximately 45 youth ages nine through 14 participate annually. Mentoring is a proven strategy for helping at-risk youth achieve a better future. They are more likely to succeed with the extra support of a caring, consistent adult mentor. 

The program increases their interpersonal skills and strengthens family bonds through the 12-month mentoring program. The three project components, mentoring, 4-H activities, and family nights, all contribute to positive impacts.  

The 4-H Mentoring Project provides youth and their families opportunities to broaden their horizons with positive involvement in all that UConn 4-H offers. It’s a win–win for both agencies we partner with, and for youth and their families. 

By Edith Valiquette 

Extension Donor Support is Growing Statewide Programming

high school student sitting with a notebook by the Fenton River
Photo Kara Bonsack

The work of UConn Extension serves thousands of people across Connecticut. UConn Extension educators work in all 169 cities and towns helping Connecticut residents to solve problems in their communities and provide transformational learning experiences to program participants. This couldn’t be done without the financial support of generous donors, many of whom have experienced Extension programs firsthand. 

Donations for Extension programs are made through the UConn Foundation which is an independent nonprofit organization that operates exclusively to promote the educational, scientific, cultural, research and recreational objectives of the University of Connecticut and UConn Health. Housed within the Foundation are funds specifically earmarked for Extension programming that provide critical support to these programs and make it possible to develop innovative programming for Connecticut residents. Here are some examples of programs made possible by the generous contributions of UConn Extension donors.

David E. and Nancy H. Bull CES Innovative Programming Fund

A generous gift from Nancy H. and David E. Bull provides funding to support innovative programming in Extension through a competitive application process open to personnel with a full or partial Extension appointment. Applications must explicitly identify the innovation proposed and the risks involved along with the potential to influence future program delivery. Some of the projects funded include:

UConn CAHNR GMO Team received funding to address the lack of science-based information for citizens regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A multi-faceted educational approach provided unbiased information which included a web site, a panel discussion on the Storrs campus, development of curriculum for youth audiences, and short videos on GMO subjects.

Assistant Extension Educators Abby Beissinger and Shuresh Ghimire received funding to establish a hot water seed treatment program to combat seed-borne pathogens that cause early infections in fields. Identified in 2019 listening sessions as a top agricultural priority in Connecticut, Dr. Ghimire and Ms. Beissinger shared the hot water treatment protocols and workshop curricula and work collaboratively with other states to contribute to best practices.

UConn Natural Resources Conservation Academy program leaders received funding to address equity and inclusion within community conservation practices. NRCA implemented a series of participatory processes to co-design local conservation projects with multiple community stakeholders in the metro-Hartford area. The goal of this project is to allow communities to meaningfully contribute to the development of conservation that is most in demand within their community.

Master Gardener Fund

UConn Extension’s Master Gardener Program began in 1978 instructing participants in science-based horticulture practices and garden management, after which students apply their knowledge by engaging in community education, including lectures, educational displays, demonstrations, and plant clinics, as well as various outreach projects throughout Connecticut. Donations to the Master Gardener Fund within the UConn Foundation are critical to the ongoing training and community outreach that they provide. Donations contribute to salaries of the Master Gardener coordinators housed in each of the local Extension Centers in Connecticut. Donations literally keep the program going and also allow for increased accessibility and flexibility in learning modalities which combines online learning with traditional classroom instruction. 

4-H Centennial Fund

The 4-H Centennial Fund was created in 2002 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the national 4-H program. Donations to the fund ensure that participants in the UConn 4-H program have the opportunity to participate in unique and exciting state, regional and national 4-H events. Many 4-H alumni remember their experience at Citizenship Washington Focus or National 4-H Congress. These trips provide important leadership and civic engagement experiences that youth don’t get elsewhere. A delegation of youth once again attended the 2021 National 4-H Congress and plans are underway for the 2022 Citizenship Washington Focus. 

Donations to UConn Extension through the UConn Foundation have made it possible to reach more people with unique and innovative programming that solves problems in communities and enriches the lives of Connecticut families. Donors can rest assured that their contributions matter and significantly impact the lives of Connecticut residents. 

Please consider supporting Extension at s.uconn.edu/GiveToExtension

Article by Nancy Wilhelm

Job: Educational Program Assistant – Part-Time in Fairfield Co.

Search #: 496223Work type: Part-timeLocation: Fairfield County Extension CtrCategories: Academic Programs and Services

JOB SUMMARY

The UConn Extension Center located in Bethel, CT is seeking applications for a part-time Educational Program Assistant 1 position (50%).  This position is responsible for supporting and helping implement high-quality, comprehensive, Extension programming at different program sites throughout the region, with specific support to Urban Agriculture, EFNEP/Community Nutrition, Master Gardener, and 4-H programs. The Educational Program Assistant will report to the Center Coordinator to prioritize programmatic work assignments.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 

  1. Assists and provides support to Extension Educators working with programs which may include but not be limited to Urban Agriculture, EFNEP/ community nutrition, Master Gardener, and 4-H programs.
  2. Assists in developing educational programs, recruiting, explaining, and providing program information and processes to Extension volunteers and participants.
  3. Works with and helps develop and refine program databases using programs such as Excel and Access, as well as national and federal databases such as 4-H, Z-Suite, and WebNEERS to extrapolate relevant data sets, maintain program enrollments, membership, and volunteer records and provide program reports to the Extension educators as required.
  4. Maintains accurate records on each program and assembles databases and prepares statistical and/or historical reports for Extension educators/Program Coordinators based on program outcomes.
  5. Performs office support functions, in support of educational programs; processes paperwork, records, and files which may be computerized or confidential in nature.
  6. Supports Extension Educators/Program Coordinators in implementing and providing off-site educational activities in the community to improve practical understanding and accomplish program goals.
  7. Provides assistance in assembling, arranging, organizing, and dismantling program event and activity set-ups and arrangements at various locations and venues, i.e. classrooms, fairgrounds, community centers, etc.
  8. Supports media relations activities for various programs; works with others to write and edit program and promotional materials for hard and soft copy publications and social media platforms.
  9. Assists Extension Educators/Program Coordinators in assessing clients’ capacity to participate in programs and helping to incorporate related knowledge into program activities for greatest learning opportunities.
  10. Assists Extension Educators/Program Coordinators in developing and implementing programs to enhance learning and provide appropriate content-based experiences to accomplish program goals.
  11. Under supervision, provides educational training and conducts related support services on an ongoing basis, and assists in resolving problems in assigned area of responsibility.
  12. Assists with increasing community collaborations with partner groups.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS 

  1. Bachelor’s degree in related field and up to one year of related experience or an Associate’s degree and two to three years of related experience; or four to five years of experience utilizing profession based standards in urban agriculture, community nutrition, gardening, 4-H or related fields.
  2. Demonstrated written and verbal communication skills and ability to work effectively with communication technologies and the media.
  3. Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite including Excel and Access and other database activities.
  4. Demonstrated sensitivity towards diverse youth, families, and volunteer clientele to be served.
  5. Must be detail-oriented. Demonstrated experience providing organizational support in a team environment including but not limited to filing, database management, and administrative processes.
  6. Must be able to regularly lift, carry, load, unload, and transport equipment, supplies, and/or program materials for educational events and workshops such as laptops, projectors, tables, chairs, displays, paper media, etc.
  7. Must be willing and able to work flexible and irregular hours, including occasional nights and weekends to help conduct programs at off-site locations.
  8. Must have reliable transportation to meet in-state travel requirements (mileage allowance provided).

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS 

  1. Knowledge and familiarity with the Cooperative Extension System.
  2. Demonstrated success in public relations utilizing electronic, social, and print media platforms.
  3. Experience working with large databases, and generating reports including 4-H online registration.
  4. Experience participating with collaborative community partnerships.
  5. Experience working with UConn administrative processes.
  6. Experience with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) technology.
  7. Multilingual – Spanish and English preferred

Physical Requirements: Incumbents must possess the ability to perform the required duties set forth above.

APPOINTMENT TERMS 

This is a part-time (50%, 17.5 hours) position based in Bethel, CT. The annual salary will be prorated according to the percent of employment.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT

Employment at the University of Connecticut is contingent upon the successful candidate’s compliance with the University’s Mandatory Workforce COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.  This Policy states that all workforce members are required to have or obtain a Covid-19 vaccination as a term and condition of employment at UConn, unless an exemption or deferral has been approved.

Employment of the successful candidate is contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check.

TO APPLY

Please apply online at https://hr.uconn.edu/jobs, Staff Positions, Search #496223 to upload a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three (3) professional references.

This job posting is scheduled to be removed at 11:55 p.m. Eastern time on May 1, 2022.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.

Advertised: Apr 01 2022 Eastern Daylight TimeApplications close: May 01 2022 Eastern Daylight Time

Waterbury 4-H Youth Mentoring Program is Thriving

Waterbury 4-H youth dance squadWaterbury’s 4-H program is going strong! As we all know the past two years have been far from ordinary. While Waterbury Youth Services, Inc. (WYS) has been facilitating 4-H programing for 30 years, we have had to face new challenges and with them, new joys. While in person programming was not an option, our team of mentors put together bi-monthly activities which we mailed to our 4-H families. Just like if we were in person, our activities were seasonally themed and encouraged members to get outside, collaborate with their families and communities, and hopefully learn a thing or two while having fun. We sent out monthly challenges, in which youth would send back evidence of a completed “challenge” such as a scavenger hunt or science experiment, each submission an entry to a gift card drawing.

This summer, our summer camp had a blast integrating 4-H Healthy Living activities into our camp day. We ate food from every color of the rainbow, reminded each other to drink plenty of water, and even prepared “go-bags” that members were able to take home and discuss emergency plans with their families. They were so excited to receive achievement awards from our UConn Extension collaborators (Ms. Peggy and Ms. Maryellen) at the end of summer.

4-H youth with a mentor working on codingOur dance program is back in full swing with our new dance coach Ms. Tatiana. Their first performance was at Waterbury Youth Services annual Back to School Rally in August, a citywide event where families can get free backpacks, school supplies, and resources for their students. The 4-H dance team’s debut was a huge success, with an original performance followed by the team leading the crowd in line dances like the cha-cha, slide and cupid shuffle. They also put together an original dance for our Halloween family night as well as our Winter Holiday family night.

Creative arts has been working on seasonal decorations for our WYS hallway now that peopleWaterbury 4-H youth coding project are back in the building. From paper crafts to painting to sculpture, there is no limit to this group’s creativity. This spring they will be taking on photography, and we cannot wait to see what the capture.

Our new Coding group is thriving. We are balancing computer activities with “unplugged” computer science, such as coding your own name, designing and troubleshooting a maze, and finding the computer science skill of error detection to be quite helpful in magic tricks.

Waterbury Youth Services is proud of our 4-H groups and look forward to many more years of collaboration!

Article and Photos: Amanda Augeri, 4-H Mentoring Coordinator

 

EFNEP/4-H Special Interest group with Danbury Public Schools

UConn Extension in Fairfield County is leading a EFNEP/4-H special interest group with Danbury Public Schools at Rogers Park Middle School.  EFNEP educator Heather Peracchio is engaging students with Teen Cuisine curriculum and hands-on activities in grades 6-8th. During National Nutrition Month in March students enjoyed learning about MyPlate healthy eating and made a Colorful Coleslaw from the Teen Cuisine workbook.

Joro Spider Information

joro spider
Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski, University of Georgia
You asked, we answered. We’ve been getting questions about Joro spiders. Gail Reynolds from our UConn Extension Master Gardener program answered:
Joro spiders, Trichonephila clavata, have been sensationalized in recent news stories. The actual appearance of these spiders in Connecticut has not been documented. According to various reports, this spider was first noted in Georgia in 2014. Its arrival was most likely through imported shipping and/or plant materials. The Joro spider is native to China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and the eastern part of India.
The spider has not spread quickly and is found in northern Georgia, western South Carolina, and extreme southern North Carolina.  They have been found in much lesser numbers in Tennessee and Alabama.
Most scientific assessments of this spider do not think the spider, or its eggs, can survive in colder temperatures of New England winters except perhaps for milder coastal areas.
The spider moves by spinning silk threads, which get caught by the wind and dispersed. The spider is only very mildly venomous and must be specifically provoked to bite.
Research has yet to determine if the Joro spider will displace any native spiders from their habitats or if they can all co-exist. University of Georgia scientists have reported that Joro spiders will capture and eat adult brown-marmorated stink bugs, another invasive insect and crop pest.  Native spiders will not prey on the invasive stink bugs.
A good source for additional information:  https://extension.psu.edu/joro-spiders
 

Part-Time Positions on Biotechnology Grant Project

youth with DNA strand

UConn Extension has two part-time positions open on a biotechnology grant project. These positions are both four-year appointments through the grant period.

The grant will create 4-H clubs focused on teaching teen members about biotechnology and encouraging them to pursue it as a career. Cohorts of 4-H youth will work with the UConn and NMSU teams to learn about biotechnology and create games about biotechnology careers.

The outreach effort will target high school-aged youth already in 4-H youth development programs in Connecticut and the surrounding area. The researchers will prioritize working with communities currently underrepresented in STEM fields.

The project will provide participants and their families with informal education in food and agricultural sciences, teaching them about potential careers in biotechnology, including gene editing.

Using a game-based learning approach, participants will learn about the safe use of biotechnology for agriculture and career opportunities in this field. The UConn team is partnering with the New Mexico State University Learning Games Lab to develop these educational games, and the youth will be involved throughout the process.

Participants will develop outreach materials to communicate science-based information about biotechnology to their peers and adult audiences. This effort will help build public trust in these methods. A multimedia dissemination approach will make use of diverse tools such as YouTube, social media, a website, seminars, and workshops. Learn more about the grant.