A workforce strong in science, technology, engineering and math is essential for Colorado to compete in the national global economy. When they participate in the community and service projects with caring adults, thousands of Colorado youths benefit from the 4-H mission to empower young people to reach their full potential.
4-Hs Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, initiative reaches more than 5 million youths nationwide. It offers hands-on learning experiences that encourage discovery, develop young minds and fill the pipeline of young leaders proficient in science. The United States is lagging behind other countries youths who are enrolling in higher education STEM-related fields.
4-H is strategically positioned with Colorado State University Extensions direct connection to the cutting-edge research and resources of CSU and the nations 106 land-grant universities and colleges. Nationally, 4-H has set a goal of preparing 1 million young people to excel in science, technology, engineering and math by 2013.
Today, 4-H out-of-school opportunities focus on agricultural science, electricity, mechanics, natural resources, rocketry, robotics, biofuels, renewable energy and computer science. These projects also foster the 4-H goals of learning, mastering skills and demonstrating generosity.
Although most of todays 4-H projects cover one or more of the STEM areas, I would like to highlight the computer project. This project can allow youths with the education to keep up with the emerging technologies of the future.
Some objectives for the project are: identification of internal computer components, operating systems and their processes; increased knowledge of building, maintenance and repair of computers; understanding data networking and how it is accomplished; collaboration with adults and peers to build a functioning network; and working with peers, adults and community partners to develop service-related computer goals.
La Plata County 4-H is excited about creating an infrastructure to apply STEM resources and learning opportunities to our members. We will be organizing STEM activities during our summer program days and Natural Resources Camp. In addition, we will be incorporating STEM learning opportunities into our annual project activities.
For example, we would like to invite any youths (4-H or non-4-H member) interested in our Shooting Sports Project to attend our annual Fun Shoot at 10 a.m. May 28 at the Durango Rod and Gun Club. The Fun Shoot will allow youths the opportunity to try disciplines like archery, shotgun, air rifle and muzzleloading. In addition, we will have a STEM table set up to teach lessons on trajectory, energy and laws of motion. Contact the Extension office for more information about this and other activities.
Family benefit dinner
Finally, I would like to remind everyone to come out to Bayfield Elementary School on Saturday for a benefit to raise money for the family of Shania Farmer. It will be a Mexican food dinner, family dance and auction. The dinner will start at 5 p.m. and the dance at 8 p.m. We would like to thank everyone who has helped organize this benefit and to all the businesses and people that have provided such wonderful items for the auction.
email@example.com or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.