4-H Parents, Youth, Teachers: Stories and Testimonials

We often receive feedback from 4-H Parents, Youth, and Teaches telling of their experiences with our virtual learning offerings. Please feel free to contact our 4-H Staff Contacts (listed with each workshop) with your positive virtual learning experiences.

Read what 4-H Parents, Youth, and Teachers have to say about these 4-H Virtual Learning offerings by clicking on a link:

4-H Passport Around the World

January-August 2021

screenshot of 4-H Passport Club Virtual meeting
Photo, Sara King4-H Passport Around the World

4-H and Greenheart traveled around the world virtually to meet teens from across the globe. Meetings included a brief presentation from a teen Greenheart Exchange Student about their native country, an activity, and a question and answer period. These meetings were open to youth ages 12-18. Countries explored included: Taiwan, North Macedonia, Tunisia, Ghana, the Philippines, Ukraine, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and more. Activities ranged from cooking, art, beading, designing, and more. A supply list for each country’s activity was provided for youth to prepare materials. As a result of participating in this virtual experience, 100% of participants indicated that they gained a greater understanding and appreciation for the similarities and differences of cultures other than their own.

Parent Quote:

We loved being able to connect to someone as far away as Bangladesh in real-time! There was a lot of conversation at home during and after. We’ve been practicing our henna ever since. Can’t thank you enough for bringing this unique opportunity to Maine.

Parent Quote:

This morning, [my son] was saying “Why did I sign up for this, I’m not interested in other countries.” But at the end, he said “I don’t know why I started with a bad attitude. That was so interesting and I want to visit and try more recipes. Did you sign me up for more traveling workshops?” Thank you for broadening his horizons!

4-H Staff Contact: Sara King, sara.king@maine.edu

Maine 4-H Citizen Science Club

Spring 2020 and Fall 2021

screenshot of 4-H Citizen Science virtual meeting participants
Photo, Sara SparksMaine 4-H Citizen Science Club

This virtual 4-H citizen scientists club encourages youth to practice citizen science in their own backyard, with a variety of citizen science opportunities to consider, and report their observations while making connections with fellow citizen scientists in their community and around the state.  The club is short-term, special interest, meeting six times each time it is offered. Nearly 90% of participants said the club gave them the opportunity to explore something they really care about and feel connected to other kids in this 4-H program.

Youth Quote:

I got to make observations that I have never seen before! It’s fun and I can connect with other kids. My favorite part was meeting new kids and making friends.

4-H Staff Contact: Sarah Sparks, sarah.sparks@maine.edu

Civic Engagement, Food Science, and Health Science Virtual SPIN Clubs

September ’20-May ’21

screenshot of a virtual session of CYFAR 4-H Spin Club meeting
Photo, Dana DotsonCivic Engagement, Food Science, and Health Science Virtual SPIN Clubs

The Cumberland County Child, Youth, and Family at Risk (CYFAR) staff held 3 remote SPIN clubs over the course of the school year. Club topics were; Civic Engagement, Food Science, and Health Science. Each club ran for 6 weeks and met via zoom for 1 hour per week. Each session consisted (roughly) of an opening, “get to know you” activity, research, group discussion, an ongoing service-learning project, Q&A with guest speaker (who specialized in said topic), an interactive educational activity, and closing reflection. 80% of participants were youth of color (BIPoC) from the greater Portland area.

Teen Quote:

One thing I enjoy is how when we talk about things we are able to think freely and voice our opinions. Something I would change probably is the meets as well because for me I would prefer in-person than online for the better experience.

4-H Staff Contact: Dana Dotson, dana.dotson@maine.edu

4-H Aquaponics Project

Summer-Fall 2020 and 2021

screenshot of 4-H Aquaponics Project virtual workshop
Photo, Carla Scocchi4-H Aquaponics Project

Aquaponics is a type of modern farming that combines raising fish (aquaculture) and growing plants without soil (hydroponics). In 2020 and 2021, Maine 4-H delivered an At-Home Aquaponics Project designed to harness youth interests in aquaria to cultivate real-world skills applicable to the fast-growing aquaculture industry. Youth participants were responsible for designing, building, and maintaining their own aquaponics systems independently with guidance from aquaculture experts, youth development professionals, and their peers during regular virtual programming. Youth gained a deep understanding of complex systems, skills, and experiences valued by the industry, and practiced resiliency, record-keeping, and collaboration. The program also provided social-emotional support and peer connection for youth during a challenging time.

Youth Quote:

I love fish, any way to work them into my life is amazing. This program is amazing. The [leaders] aren’t just my teachers, they are helpful friends.

4-H Staff Contact: Carla Scocchi, carla.scocchi@maine.edu

4-H For All: Chicken Edition

June-August 2021

screenshot of 4-H For All: Chicken Edition virtual workshop
Photo, Sara King4-H For All: Chicken Edition

This workshop focused on several chicken-related topics and was by 4-Hers and their parents. There was a hands-on activity related to chickens, and plenty of opportunities to share, learn and create friendships with other youth interested in chickens throughout the state. Topics included brooder set up for chicks, different kinds of chicken breeds, basic chicken care/vet care, fun things to do with chickens: training and tricks, and chicken food and healthy treats.

This was a youth-led and youth-chosen club! Participants in the 4-H For All club who had met for three, one-month sessions did not want it to end. A few families came together and discovered they had a love of chickens in common, thus a 4-H For All Chicken Edition Club was born. Parents and 4-Hers worked together to pick topics and present to other youth and families, planning, leading activities, and sharing their expertise with others all over the state.

4-H Staff Contact: Sara King, sara.king@maine.edu

4-H STEM Ambassadors

Spring and Fall 2021

promotional graphic for Mars Base camp, a 4-H STEM program
Photo, Sarah Sparks4-H STEM Ambassadors

4-H STEM Ambassadors are trained University of Maine students who facilitate hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities with youth 8–14 years old throughout Maine. Through 4-H STEM Ambassadors, youth become connected to the research, resources, and scientists at Maine’s public universities. Before 4-H STEM Ambassadors work with children, they complete hands-on training to understand how to work with and keep youth safe, as well as how to facilitate inquiry-based STEM activities. During the 2020-2021 school year, STEM Ambassadors offered virtual, hands-on programs in partnership with Maine schools and libraries. 4-H STEM Ambassadors earn micro-credentials for the skills they gain during their training and experience.

Classroom Teacher Quote:

It was a particularly bright spot in a very challenging year. The kids were always excited by their Mission to Mars!

STEM Ambassador Quote:

As a virtual 4-H STEM Ambassador, I liked meeting new people, working with children, and learning challenging new techniques.

4-H Staff Contact: Sarah Sparks, sarah.sparks@maine.edu

4-H Summer Learning Series Workshop: The BBQ Cycle

August 2021

screenshot of the 4-H BBQ Cycle virtual workshop
Photo, Sarah King4-H Summer Learning Series Workshop: The BBQ Cycle

This exciting workshop was all about barbeque! Dr. Colt Knight, University of Maine Cooperative Extension State Livestock Specialist, showed everyone where barbeque comes from and how it is prepared. Participants received a care package with aprons, cookbooks, stickers, spices, and instructions on how to create their own mouth-watering baby back ribs! During the workshop, Dr. Knight highlighted different types of barbeque, then we all broke out our spices and created a customized dry rub for our baby back ribs. Once those dry rubs were ready, Dr. Knight walked everyone through how to prepare and cook the ribs.

Parent Quote:

Thank you both for this opportunity. [My daughter] loved the class and the family loved the ribs!

4-H Staff Contact: Sara King, sara.king@maine.edu