4-H Summer Learning Series: Outcomes and Impacts
The 4-H Summer Learning Series was created as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and was so successful in connecting kids across the state and bringing experiential learning right to their homes that we decided to launch it again in 2021 — with tremendous impact! 4-H Virtual Learning is unique, outstanding, and in-demand from families across the state of Maine. Here are some of our impacts:
Virtual Learning the 4-H Way
“These provided a chance for my kids to attend and be a part of something they would not have been able to do otherwise…without 4-H they would have done a lot less and would not have learned new things in the process”
“I liked that the materials were provided and it was interactive”
“The preparedness of each program and instructor, as well as reminders with things to have ready and to complete. The kids never complained about attending a workshop this summer!”
“[The best part was] the variety. How the kids always are listened to and included. How they talked about their experiences with family and friends. How all my kids were welcome to join, even if just one was signed up. There was one class that my son didn’t really intend to sign up for, but somehow we signed him up. Once he tried it, he decided it was one of his favorite classes! I love that his horizons were broadened.”
“I liked the opportunity to connect to other kids around the state and learn from 4-H Staff.”
“I learned how to take better care of our chickens, which is an important skill.”
“I really liked the 4-H Summer Learning Series because I got to do a lot of things that I wasn’t used to. One of them was to learn how to make BBQ ribs.”
“I learned that I’m not a big fan of spring rolls, but I DO like the noodles in them!”
“I really enjoyed working with the youth participants as well as the youth presenters. It was quite rewarding to be part of seeing youth learn something new or finding that they can lead a successful workshop.”
“I could not have done this without [my 4-H Staff Mentor]! She helped organize my workshop timing, communicate with folks, and also helped me be a better leader.”
“The variety of opportunities was fantastic – something for everyone! I think youth benefited from having the experience of experts, staff, and other youth sharing their passion and hopefully inspiring them to be better versions of themselves in some way.”
“I love to see kids with similar “sparks” connecting with each other across the state, bonding over their passions, and becoming life-long friends. It is possible to create a safe space for youth to do that through technology.”
“It is exciting to see young people building relationships with peers and adult mentors, in this online summer camp experience. They look forward to seeing each other and are jazzed about trying new things and learning together. In addition, it has been a great opportunity for volunteer presenters to collaborate in a virtual environment, allowing for them to share their expertise with a wider geographic community of young people.”
The 4-H Summer Learning Series connected youth to the University of Maine in a variety of ways:
- With support from the Alton ’38 and Adelaide Hamm Campus Activity Fund, we established a “4-H@UMaine” Learning Track for 4-H Summer Learning workshops that had a connection to campus. Workshops offered in this track were taught by a UMaine faculty, staff, researcher, and/or student — for example: “An Eggcellent Exploration of the Principals of Protein Coagulation” Join Chef Rob Dumas and Caitlin Hillery from the University of Maine for an eggcellent cook-a-long. Participants will learn about the science behind the versatile ingredient of eggs and follow along with a cooking demonstration.
- Through the UMaine Extension Internship Program, we provided the opportunity for an undergraduate intern to serve on the 4-H Summer Learning Series planning team, gaining valuable work, education, and leadership skills while attending the University of Maine.
- We engaged undergraduate interns in other departments across campus, including two Aquaculture Research Institute Interns who taught several workshops such as “Seaweed Lava Lamps“, “4-H Aquaponics Project“, and more. The interns built facilitation, leadership, technology, and lesson planning skills by leading workshops in partnership with 4-H Positive Youth Development Staff Mentors.