Urbana, Illinois – Cloverdale 4-H Club members Stephen Starasta and David Morrow recently attended the 4-H National Youth Summit in Agricultural Sciences. Students developed the skills and knowledge necessary to face challenges in agriculture, food security and sustainability.
Youngsters learned about topics such as food science, environmental science, literacy and advocacy of Ag, Ag production and Ag technology and how they can use this knowledge to become change makers in their community.
“I think we’ve seen the best and the brightest of 4-H, but I’m always impressed with how students want to use their knowledge to become change makers,” says Dr. Megan Dailey, Director of Metropolitan Food & Environmental Systems and Summit Career Panelist.
“We can absolutely entrust our future to the youth.”
Students worked with each other and with agricultural experts in a collaborative, hands-on educational setting, with teenage teachers playing a major role at the summit.
Starasta said he learned many things from the program.
“I took part in the environmental science track. I learned a lot about renewable energies and how electricity can come from different sources. The ag’s career information was also interesting, ”said Starasta.
Morrow said he was satisfied with the information presented.
“I took part in the Ag technology track. I learned that you can use methane from cow dung to make energy. I plan to discuss this with a neighbor and learn more, ”said Morrow.
A focus of this year’s summit was to raise awareness of the career opportunities and paths available in agriculture.
“I found it really beneficial that so much of the information was career-focused,” says Donna Nuger, University of Illinois Enlargement Educator in 4-H Youth Development. “The speakers were open about how they started and which way they went. This focus is something that you normally can’t get from a traditional conference speaker. “
The format of the career panel also offered the panelists added value.
“When you hear the questions they ask about education and career opportunities, they are so great.” Says Dailey.
“With 4-H youngsters in particular, we will be fine if we follow what they want from the world.”
Despite the virtual format, young people were able to connect and network.
“They used the chat to network with children across the country.” Says Nuger.
“Those chances to connect made a difference.”