Maine 4-H Agricultural Leadership Ambassador Program
The Program’s Goal:
The goal of the Maine 4-H Agriculture Leadership Ambassador Program is to provide educational experiences for youth ages 14-18 to explore their interest in agriculture. The program focuses on connecting youth with their local food systems and industries, exploring the richness and diversity of the Maine food system, developing “ag-vocacy” skills, and increasing their access to career and post-secondary opportunities in the agri-science and food system. These goals will be obtained through online and in-person learning modules created by Extension staff, community partners, and industry leaders, along with internships and on-campus activities.
Educational Experiences Offered:
About Our Program:
- The Need
- Positive Trend
- Our Vision as the Program Progresses
- We Need Your Input!
- Meet the Maine 4-H Agricultural Ambassadors Team
Maine 4-H is offering a summer series, 4-H Fridays on the Farm, to connect teens with local agriculture. Current 4-H enrollment is not necessary for participation. Program materials and instruction are free.
The goal of 4-H Fridays on the Farm is to expose teens ages 12-18 to Maine agriculture and provide an environment for youth to explore careers in agriculture. Teens may participate in one session or join us for all of them. Each session will include a tour of operations and opportunities to gain hands-on experience and consider their role in the Maine Food System.
Upcoming 4-H Fridays on the Farm events include:
- July 15, 2022: Rustic Roots Farm, Farmington, Maine
- July 22, 2022: Morning Glory Farm, Bethel, Maine
- August 5, 2022: Brigeen Farms and Canty Cow Creamery, Turner, Maine
- August 5, 2022: Lone Spruce Farm, Dedham, Maine
- August 12, 2022: Pumpkin Vine Family Farm, Somerville, Maine
- August 19, 2022: McDougal Orchards, Springvale, Maine
Our team of professionals from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H program is creating a program to provide agricultural education and leadership experiences to Maine youth ages 14-18. Youth involved in this program will have opportunities to pursue their interest in agriculture and explore career pathways. This includes mentoring in post-secondary opportunities, as well as sparking a passion to investigate and explore current issues around food systems, livestock, crop sciences, aquaculture, climate issues impacting food systems, social justice around food equity, and more. There is no requirement to have previous 4-H membership, this program is open to all Maine youth with an interest.
These opportunities will begin with a creation of an online learning community cohort and will also include in-person experiences across the state and on the UMaine Campus. This program will provide youth with an opportunity to connect to local agriculture and identify their role in the Maine Food System.
Topics covered in this club include:
- Exploring participant’s skill sets and areas of interest
- Discovering new opportunities in Agricultural Careers (what Ag has to offer)
- Exploring Careers in Agriculture through interviews and panels
- Meet and interact with professionals and more!
- Ask questions and hear stories
- Reflect and make connections for the future
With the shrinking formal agricultural programs being offered to high school youth, a need is not being met. Students who have even just a small desire to explore agriculture and what it means to them are missing out on potential ways to grow their spark.
- With the world population growing, how do we feed 10 billion people by 2050?
- Agriculture workforce with a degree growing by 3.71% average yearly;
- In Maine, the median age of farmers is up from age 49 in 2002, to 56.5 in 2017. What does that mean?
- Maine and the Northeast account for only about 5% of the national total gross agriculture value;
- Maine youth NEED exposure because they have less opportunity.
- Providing high-quality educational programming in agriculture to foster a spark for a future in agriculture;
- Creating and expanding partnerships with local experts, ag-industry leaders, and organizations with similar values and opportunities for youth;
- Providing on-campus opportunities, service learning, training, and connections to deepen teens’ understanding of agriculture further, and create connections to future educational or career pathways;
- Creating an Agricultural Leadership Ambassador Program for teens and college students to help deliver an agricultural curriculum to expand our reach.
We want to hear your thoughts on how we can address this need. We ask that you please take the time to complete the brief Maine 4-H Agriculture Leadership Survey (Google Form) so that we can gather as much information as possible about how to best serve Maine youth.
If you are interested in learning more about this project, please reach out to our team.
4-H staff members Tara Marble, Sadee Mehuren, and Alisha Targonski are responsible for leading the Maine 4-H Agricultural Ambassadors Program. To contact the team please email firstname.lastname@example.org.