Each summer, Virginia Cooperative Extension offers more than 40 college students and recent graduates the opportunity to work on a team that changes people’s lives and betters communities.
Aldyn Abell, a 2015 Extension intern, spent her summer at the Extension office in Orange County. Among her numerous responsibilities, she helped plan and deliver ocean-themed lessons at 4-H Cloverbud Day Camp.
Through the 10-week program, interns work alongside Extension faculty members gaining experience in youth development, agriculture and natural resources, and family and consumer sciences.
Thomas Vasilopoulos, a 2015 intern, spent his summer with the Extension office in Arlington County. Although he was double majoring in integrated science and technology and Spanish, he found himself doing all sorts of tasks within the office, including helping to design programs and teach children at three different schools.
“They didn’t really hesitate to give me a lot of responsibilities,” Vasilopoulos said. “Extension hired me to make a positive impact in this office, and that’s what I wanted to do.”
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The Salamander Savers 4-H Club invites Delegate Bulova to attend Salamander Saturday. From left to right: Bela Kekesi, Jonah Kim, Delegate Bulova, Jacob Snawder, Gabriel Kim, Sam Kim, and Anna Kim
When Salamander Savers 4-H club went to the state capital last month, they had an idea. Why not use this opportunity to talk about what they love- salamanders! Four members of the group spoke to various delegates and senators trying to persuade them to help Salamander Savers nominate the Shenandoah Salamander as the state salamander.
Following the advice of Delegate Bulova, Salamander Savers will try again in October (when new legislation is considered), in hopes that a legislator will sponsor a bill in either the House or the Senate. In the meantime, the group will continue to do outreach programs, like Salamander Saturday on May 6 at Hidden Pond Nature Center (savethesalamanders.weebley.com), where they will talk to the public about what makes salamanders special and how anyone can help save the salamanders. If any other groups in Virginia are interested in helping the Salamander Savers advocate for the Shenandoah Salamander by passing out flyers, talking to your local legislators, or just telling friends, they would love your help. Please contact Anna Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
In a Senegalese village, children grow vegetable seedlings and organize traditional wrestling events as fundraisers in a positive youth development initiative modeled after Virginia Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program.
Virginia Cooperative Extension senior 4-H youth development agent Ruth Wallace (left) poses with a group of children and adults in Senegal. In March of this year, Extension and the 4-H Positive Youth Development in Agriculture Program traveled to the West African nation to scale up programming in the region. Reggie Morris, 4-H youth development Extension agent in Alexandria, Virginia, is pictured in the second row, second from right.
At the Ndoumbouji primary school, the main focus is gardening.
“The teachers told us that every break they have, the students run to the garden,” said Ozzie Abaye, a Virginia Tech professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences. “The group wants to try to expand the garden project outside of the campus.”
Through activities such as gardening and leadership training, 4-H’s international programming has helped to improve thousands of lives around the globe.
Kathleen Jamison, professor emerita and 4-H youth development specialist, and her team completed training workshops in March designed to scale up the programs’ outreach efforts throughout Senegal.
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4-H members and volunteers at the annual 4-H Day at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.
Eager 4-H members and volunteers from across the state will descend on Virginia’s capitol Jan. 24 to meet their legislators and learn about Virginia’s government at the annual 4-H Day at the State Capitol.
The trip to Richmond, sponsored by Virginia 4-H, gives participants the opportunity to become more familiar with the legislative process and to express their gratitude to state delegates and senators who support 4-H youth development programs. This year’s attendance is expected to surpass 1,000 members and volunteers.
“4-H citizenship projects and opportunities, such as 4-H Day at the State Capitol, empower young people to be well-informed citizens who are actively engaged in their communities. This trip allows members to see firsthand how our state government works,” said Cathy Sutphin, associate director of 4-H Youth Development with Virginia Cooperative Extension.
This year’s 4-H Day at the State Capitol will include a rally on the steps of the capitol. Virginia’s first lady, Dorothy McAuliffe; Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Sandra Adams; Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden; and Virginia Tech President Tim Sands have been invited to greet 4-H’ers. Members will also participate in various tours, attend House and Senate sessions, and visit other historical sites of interest in Richmond.
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In Norfolk elementary schools, students take SOLs on electricity concepts a year after they’ve been taught them. But the Virginia 4-H In-School Electricity Curriculum, supported by Virginia Cooperative Extension, seeks to provide a hands-on refresher before the SOLs — much to the delight of students and teachers alike.
By the end of the day-long session in one classroom, a student was using her necklace in place of a wire to light a circuit.
“This program accomplishes two main things: it brings out students’ creativity while engaging material they already know, and it relieves some pressure on teachers to cover material they may not be familiar with,” said Virginia Cooperative Extension agent and project lead Gregory Costanza.
Typically, students in Norfolk elementary schools are taught the SOL curriculum on electricity in late fall of the fourth-grade year, but take the test in fifth grade. Teachers and principals have expressed concerns with the gap, especially considering many fifth-grade teachers have not taught fourth grade and have little experience with the content.