ERIE CO., N.Y. — The 4-H Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County welcomes all young people ages 13 to 18 in Erie County to join the 4-H Teen Ambassadors. The mission of the Teen Ambassador program is to build confidence, develop life skills, teach leadership and promote teamwork. In 2021, the 4-H Teen Ambassadors are leading a project focused on our local food system that aims to bring the 4-H community together. As part of this group, teens will earn service hours by supporting Erie County 4-H events like the Erie County Fair and 4-H Public Presentation Day. They will also have fun getting to know other young people from across the county. Applications can be found at http://erie.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth-development. Teens not already enrolled in Erie County 4-H will need to complete a 4-H application to participate.
In 2020, the Teen Ambassadors learned how to grow vegetables at home and donated their vegetables to local food pantries. Callum, a member of the 2020 Teen Ambassadors said, “I learned so much about gardening. This was the first time I grew my own vegetables. In the end, despite challenges with the pandemic, we managed to get our homegrown vegetables donated.” This project gave the participants an opportunity to learn by doing even though not everyone’s plants survived. Another member, Sekuye, said, “My beans died because I forgot to put them in an area that receives full sunlight.” Gardening can be difficult!
By growing and donating fresh vegetables to food pantries, the members were able to increase access to fresh, locally grown produce. As 4-Her Holly, said, “The fresher something is when you eat it, the more nutrients it will provide your body and the better it will taste.” The project also gave them a sense of accomplishment. Griffin added, “I felt very proud that we were supporting people in our community.”
The 4-H Teen Ambassadors learned a lot more than just how to grow vegetables. For example, Daniel shared, “It taught me how to be a leader in my community and how to mentor those who are younger than me. The group also opened my eyes to seeing the world through a different lens compared to the one that I’ve grown accustomed to.”
Genevieve said, “4-H always had a sense of togetherness, meaning that whatever we did we did it together and it was fun for that reason. It’s one of my favorite parts of 4-H!”
Overall, the 4-H Teen Ambassadors and the 4-H Program give opportunities for young people to build skills and feel a sense of accomplishment. One of our eldest members, John, shared, “I’ve ultimately learned through experience that the more effort you put into your service, the more satisfying the feeling of doing it, and the more beneficial your contribution can be. This has been true for all my 4-H work.”
To learn more about the Erie County 4-H Teen Ambassadors, check out the video on our Erie County 4-H Program YouTube Channel at: https://youtu.be/L8hZsTA0a7o. If you know a young person who might be interested in the 4-H Teen Ambassadors, please contact 4-H Educators, Sara Jablonski at firstname.lastname@example.org or Megan Burley at email@example.com.
More about Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County and the Erie County 4-H Program
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County (CCE-Erie) puts knowledge to work to build stronger communities. CCE-Erie provides educational programs in Agriculture, 4-H Youth Development, Nutrition, and Consumer Horticulture. The 4-H Program is the youth development branch of CCE-Erie. 4-H gives young people ages 5 to 19 hands-on experiences to teach them leadership, citizenship, and life skills by working with volunteers, youth organizations, and school districts to put research-based knowledge to work in homes, schools, and community centers. It works with young people from urban, suburban, and rural areas of Erie County. CCE is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.
For more information about the Erie County 4-H Program, visit: http://erie.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth-development.
Accommodations for persons with special needs may be requested by contacting Sara Jablonski at 716-597-7361 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County