COLUMBIA CO., N.Y. — Teens from Cornell Cooperative Extension Columbia and Greene counties’ 4-H clubs spent the fall participating in the intergenerational program, Building a Community Legacy Together. This program, in collaboration with Cornell University, has as its goals to shed new light on the benefits of intergenerational programs and to provide useful experience in conducting controlled evaluations in partnership with Cornell researchers.
The goal of this program for the teens is to gather advice for living, recommendations about how to live a happier life. The elders readily volunteered to be interviewed, and found that they enjoyed the opportunity to not only share what they have learned over the years but to get to know a teenager a little better.
During their preparation sessions the teens learned about older people and aging, practiced interview skills and created the questions that were used in the interviews.
The teens asked the elders questions about how they dealt with stressful experiences in their lifetime, advice for a lasting marriage, how to choose a career and how to take care of ones’ health, among others.
After collecting the interview answers on recorders, each teen identified life lessons from the interview data and then, as a team, the teens created a report based on the interview findings.
The teens found that collectively ten life lessons were share:
- Loss is difficult but you can get through it
- Focus on your children – raising them requires individual communication
- There is always a source (Higher Power) greater than you
- Find work that you enjoy
- Marriage is always a work in progress
- Keep well in body and mind
- Keep moving forward – don’t let misfortune get you down
- Lead a positive life
- Be honest
- Be open-minded
Some quotes from the elders that stood out to the teens are:
- “When things go a little sideways or backwards, as they often do, you have to sit down and relax”
- “Be honest, not only with others but with yourself”
- “No matter what you have to do in life or what you’re handed, always do the best you can and then everything works out”
- “It’s not about money, it’s what’s gonna make your life happy”
- “If you can keep your brain going you can keep the rest of you going”
As a closing of the program, the teens shared a community presentation of their findings at the CCE Columbia and Greene annual meeting as well as at the Cairo Community Library.
The teens, Lily Hepperle, Mikaela Hallenbeck, Emma Leifer, Isa Leifer, Ruth Kress and Eleanor Kress would like to thank the elders who volunteered to be interviewed – Dorothy True, Frances Hepperle, David Hart, Ellen Hartmann, Elizabeth Holdren, Arlene Dauer, Bernice West, and Mrs. Merrifield.
Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities. The programs provided by this organization are partially funded by monies received from the Counties of Columbia and Greene.
4-H is New York’s only youth development program directly connected to the technological advances and the latest research at Cornell University. 4-H participants learn leadership, citizenship and life skills through hands-on projects in three primary program areas: science and technology; healthy living; and citizenship. To find out more about 4-H and youth programs in Columbia and Greene Counties, contact us at 518-828-3346 orColumbiagreene@cornell.edu or visit our website, www.ccecolumbiagreene.org . You can also “Like” us on Facebook…Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties.
–Linda Tripp, 4-H Youth Development Educator
Cornell Cooperative Extension Columbia and Greene Counties
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