Virginia 4-H: Making the Future

There has been a resurgence in the do-it-yourself (DIY) culture around the world, and it is finding a home in Virginia 4-H. The Make Movement encompasses unique solutions to problems through “tinkering, “individual planning, and group collaboration. Examples of some of the areas include modifying homemade objects by repurposing, reusing, and upcycling; fabricating scientific equipment to participate in citizen science; self-publishing books and records, and employing shortcuts or novel methods to increase productivity. 4-H has engaged youth in making since its beginnings in 1902 with a wide variety of projects – sewing, quilting, gardening, woodworking, and many others, all examples of DIY. Making is inherent to 4-H, both historically and culturally, it is deeply embedded in diverse and engaging projects in which 4-H youth participate each year. The Make Education movement capitalizes on “thinking with the hands through a hands-on, minds-on, design-based learning approach that integrates science, art, technology, math, and engineering. 4-H youth of all ages and across all delivery modes have become engaged in this revitalized movement.
( Worker & Ambrose, 2013)

In Virginia, 4-H has provided professional development trainings to 4-H Agents in collaboration with ICAT (Institute of Creativity, Arts and Technology), on Virginia Tech’s campus, and at the 4-H Symposium in November, 2013. Funding from Cognizant Solutions, Inc. provided an opportunity to develop and pilot a co-curricular 4-H Maker program in Hanover County, Virginia, expanding an interest in a mini program started out of local interest. At the end of this learning experience, participating youth were additionally funded by Cognizant to attend and train others in the Youth Pavilion at the World Maker Faire in New York City.

A second statewide maker training using kits that are being piloted in March and will be created for agent check out occur as a pre-conference training on May 20, 2014 before the 2014 VESA Meeting at the W.E. Skelton Center, Wirtz, Va. A “Maker” from the grant, a coordinator of the kits, and two electrical engineering graduate students from Virginia Tech will provide support to the 10:00 AM- 9 PM Training on May 20th. The evening session will be an exploration of kits with folks available to answer questions on ways to deepen learning and assist in developing plans for your locality.

Thoughts and Comments on the Make Movement and California 4-H
May 9, 2013. Steven Worker ( and Andrea Ambrose (

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