by Faith Schwartz, UA Cooperative Extension
A sea of green in the form of high school and middle school students from around Arizona converged on the University of Arizona in late July to learn about campus, career and community from university experts and current students.
It’s part of the Arizona 4-H Summit – a program created to help 4-H youth understand how their skills and interests can lead to a career.
“This is the first statewide gathering of senior 4-H youth on campus in over 25 years,” said Nick Morris, 4-H Summit Coordinator. “During the summit we were excited to connect our youth with the University of Arizona and made sure they recognize that they are already part of the Wildcat family.”
Students ate at the Bear Down Kitchen, attended a formal dance – the “Clover Ball” – and participated in service projects at a local elementary school, the community food bank, Ben’s Bells and the Tucson Village Farm as they familiarized themselves with campus and the Tucson community.
4-Hers got to try out ‘majors’ and ‘minors’ in several subject areas, and were mentored by current UA students and professors.
“Each Summit participant got to choose a career track to explore with campus professionals, and in some cases, UA students helped lead those hands-on activities," said Schuyler Germann, a UA sophomore double majoring in pre-business and French language, literatures and cultures.
Germann is a Montana native who has been involved in 4-H since the age of 6 and represented her state as a 4-H International Delegate to Norway when she was 16. She currently serves as a young professional on Montana's 4-H International Board of Directors and is an AmeriCorps 4-H Team Leader.
“The Arizona 4-H Summit is an especially unique event because it combines leadership development with mentoring, career exploration through hands-on learning, and many opportunities to engage in being a 'Wildcat.' This was our first year for the Arizona 4-H Summit, and we are excited to start an era of campus connection for Arizona 4-Hers,” Germann said.
The 4-H program is implemented by the nation’s land-grant colleges and universities through the Cooperative Extension system. In Arizona, UA Cooperative Extension has engaged with more than 200,000 young people enrolled in county-based programs, activities and events, with agents and clubs in counties and reservations across the state.
Germann advised a group of teen leaders from across Arizona who helped lead some of the other participants. She also coordinated the event schedule, planned the digital scavenger hunt and created the event's smartphone app.
“4-H events helped me to make lifelong friends, learn from guest speakers, develop life skills and find my excitement for leadership,” Germann said. “I am passionate about Arizona 4-H teens having those same opportunities because of how impactful it was on my own life.”
To learn more about 4-H, check out the webpage at https://extension.arizona.edu/4h/home .