Practitioner Tip Tuesday
By Guest Blogger Kristen Moore, 4-H Companion Animal Programs, Portland Metro Region
Brightly colored sticky notes. They are my go-to answer for most things in my life: grocery lists, house chores, gentle reminders to my husband. Sticky notes create a physical connection to the important things, be it large or small. And they were my go-to answer when I introduced the 4-H Thriving Model to a room full of teachers and parents.
Portland 4-H is focusing on delivering a comprehensive school based 4-H program that engages students in every grade level with hands-on learning. For most of the teachers at the Portland 4-H Partner School Orientation, this was the first experience with 4-H and Oregon State University Extension Service. It was important to emphasize that 4-H is a youth development organization with expertise in creating safe and welcoming learning environments for youth to explore their sparks. In order to give a holistic view of the research driving 4-H programming, I introduced the 4-H Thriving Model.
I had 15 minutes.
15 minutes to instill a model that I devote countless hours of my time trying to understand and implement. Instead of showing the full model in Powerpoint, I broke the model down into segments and started with what connected everybody in the room. As a room full of teachers, parents, and educators, our sparks fuel the spark in young people to help them achieve positive long term outcomes as they grow and thrive.
Then the hands on activity. After I briefly described the thriving indicators, I asked each person to write down an anecdotal example of youth displaying actions that represent thriving indicators on my go-to tool, sticky notes. Sharing those notable actions of students, children, and kids in their community thriving on a large poster board created a physical connection to the 4-H Thriving Model.
Finally, I ended at the beginning – the developmental context. That collage of brightly colored sticky notes demonstrated that youth thriving could be encouraged in a variety of places. 4-H is one developmental context but schools and neighborhoods also play critical roles in a young person’s development. It also reinforced that increasing the access of 4-H programs to 4-H Partner Schools can ignite sparks and help youth develop the life skills necessary to thrive.
I am looking forward to repeating this activity at the end of year event, the 4-H Youth Summit, hopefully with more examples of thriving indicators with 4-H programs helping Portland students learn by doing.
Kristen Moore, and 4-H Companion Pet Ambassador Beau