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California 4-H Youth Summit- supporting diversity and inclusion

The Issue

The California 4-H Youth Development Program has a goal to reach 3% of the youth population in the state by 2025 while reflecting the demographics of the youth population in the state (52% Latinos, 6% African American/Black, 12% Asian American and 30 % White). We want to provide all the youth in our state the same opportunities to achieve their full potential, which is a key component of our mission statement. One way for youth to achieve their full potential is through leadership development.

What Has ANR Done?

The California 4-H Management Board (MB) has been instrumental in creating opportunities for youth to participate in different activities as 4-H members. In 2018 the MB allocated resources for youth to attend one of four newly designed California 4-H Youth Summit leadership events. The 4-H Youth Summit is a three-day weekend leadership conference hosted in multiple locations across California. The MB financially supported 45 Latino 4-H youth who were recruited through the UC ANR 4-H Latino Initiative to support a more diverse summit. Youth who attended the summit were engaged in multiple workshops to support their leadership development, including STEM, Healthy Living, and civic engagement. They also learned a variety of leadership skills, such as emotional regulation, communication skills, and how to run effective meetings. Bilingual and bicultural Latino chaperones accompanied the youth during the experience to help them feel confident and welcome.

The Payoff

Leadership opportunities motivate students to be more engaged in their communities

The participants received valuable life experiences and practical skills that they will be taking back to their schools and communities. The majority of these 45 youth were away from home for the first time but felt a sense of belonging among participants. 4-Hers reported that participation in leadership experiences motivates them to do better in school and be more engaged in their communities. For example, the Youth Chair of the event explained, “When I was younger, I was kind of quiet and reserved, and 4-H has definitely just brought me out of my shell and brought me a whole other level of confidence -- confidence in what I do and what I say. It’s really changed me as a person and brought me to an understanding of who I am and what I want to do.” A youth facilitator that participated in one of the summits further explained, “With the leadership skills I learned in this summit, I plan on using them to be a better leader for the projects in my county”. 4-H events like the Youth Summits will help teenagers to be prepared to lead in their lives as they develop the confidence to communicate and work well with others to overcome challenges.

Clientele Testimonial

Yo estoy impresionado con el comportamiento de tantos jóvenes en un lugar. Aquí no se hacen deferencias en tu apariencia, si no habla inglés claramente. Me gustaría hacer más en el club que pertenecen mis hijos. Y voy a ver cómo puedo ser líder del proyecto en sistemas de riego para jardín, porque es algo que los jóvenes pueden hacer con sus manos y usar en sus vidas.
Translation: I am impressed with the behavior of so many youths in one place. Here they do not make differences because you look different or you do not speak English clearly. I would like to do more in the club that my kids belong. I am going to be the leader of the garden irrigation system project because is something that the youth can do with their hands and use it during their lives - New Hispanic/Latino leader chaperoning a Youth Summit


Maria G. Fabregas Janeiro, Assistant Director for 4-H Diversity and Inclusion, lfabregas@ucanr.edu