Downward Gritty Kitty

I don’t know about you, but this Season Of Busy is beginning to catch up with me. No matter how determined I start into late November planning not to get too busy, I seem always to end up in the same busy place. I think my inability to stick to my non-busy plan is stuff for another post, however!

The first thing that seems to go when the Season Of Busy descends is my (fairly) strong commitment to daily stretching. As one of the leading generation that has spent most of my professional life hunched over a computer, starting way before we knew about the ergonomic principles that are supposed to help us, I realized I needed a daily stretching routine if I was to be able to do all the other things I love to do that do not involve sitting at a computer. Continue reading

When I first began work on the 4-H Thriving Model I thought about the ways in which the 4-H Program stands alone in its approach to youth development, and how youth are attracted to the program. One way that 4-H stands out is through its emphasis on project-based learning, and providing opportunities that match a young person’s interest in a particular topic. Ah-ha, I thought, this is a really important and unique aspect of 4-H and I began to search the research literature to identify how this practice of building programs around youths’ interests can contribute to their positive development.

it didn’t take me long to come across the concept of youth Sparks, an idea Continue reading

Food for Thought Friday

By Guest Blogger Dr. Nia Imani Fields

4-H Specialist, University of Maryland Extension 4-H Youth Development

My name is Nia Imani Fields and I am a 4-H Specialist in Maryland. I am passionate about increasing access to positive youth development opportunities for youth who have historically been overlooked. There is a popular saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. This is true both in childhood and through one’s adult life. The ‘who you know’ can be described as social capital—the networks and relationships that allow one to better navigate the world we live in.

4-H provides new opportunities for young people to increase their networks and self-efficacy—the ‘I can do it’ and ‘I have the support I need’ feeling! These experiences can help youth thrive into adulthood. Continue reading

As I write this blog post, a somber scene is playing out 3000 miles away in Washington DC as our country says goodbye to its 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush. Since his passing last Friday, the news has been filled with remembrances of this man who led our country, many of them reminding us of the great dignity, humor, and kindness he brought to the highest leadership post in the country.

One story, told last night on our local news was of a young woman who was part of a grade school class that traveled out to the Portland airport to say farewell to President Bush after a visit to Oregon. Now an adult, she showed the watch the president had taken off his wrist and given to her when she admired it. She also shared the story of a fellow classmate who was taken in awe by the fighter jets Continue reading

Oregon 4-H Youth playing in the Olympic Ring Fountain at Centennial Park in Atlanta while at National 4-H Congress

As I write this, Thanksgiving weekend 2018 is drawing to a close. To be honest, I needed this long weekend more than I ever remember as I my travel and work schedule had me on the road and on an airplane more weeks than not since late August. But this weekend was nothing but time to rest and relax at the beautiful Oregon Coast, and after a few days of good times with family, I am thriving again!

It is only in recent years that I have enjoyed Thanksgiving at home. For the first 15 or so years of my tenure as a 4-H specialist at Oregon State University I was working on Thanksgiving – heading off to Atlanta with a group of well deserving Continue reading