New forms help youth track their collection of experiences
MANHATTAN, Kan. – There is an old, familiar saying that says: If a tree falls in the forest and nobody heard it, did it really fall?
The Kansas 4-H version of that adage may go something like this: If youth have spent time helping their communities, but don’t tell anyone about it, did they really do it?
Amy Sollock, a 4-H youth development specialist in the southwest region, said the organization has spent significant effort over the past two years to make sure youth are recording and reflecting on their learning experiences – knowing that the skill set and information collected will be valuable later in their lives as they apply for scholarships, college or jobs.
“We have a lot of high school and college students who tell us over and over again how helpful it is to have their 4-H records to look back on when they were applying for scholarships or college admissions or whatever job they’re applying for,” Sollock said. “They have a rich history of their experiences, what they’ve learned and the skills they’ve gained. That is a valuable set of documents to have at the ready when they become young adults.”
Sollock noted that each year Kansas 4-H members choose from 34 projects to explore their interest, including leadership, space tech, visual or performing arts, shooting sports or any of several livestock or animal projects.
One of the components of the project learning pathway is that youth track and record everything they do related to the project, and hand in a yearly report in early Fall, the end of the 4-H year, according to Sollock. “Record keeping is a 4-H member’s responsibility, but it is important that parents or adult volunteers guide 4-H members through the process.”
By the time their 4-H career is over, many youth have experiences listed for many years. “It becomes quite a significant reflection of everything they’ve done with their 4-H project,” Sollock said.
She added that the Kansas 4-H program recently introduced new project report forms that improve upon youth’s ability to track their activities. The forms are available online and according to Sollock, better accommodate children by age and are more specific to types of projects.
The forms can also be printed and filled out by hand.
“We’ve developed these new forms so that they’re easy to use and simple for kids and families to complete. Kansas 4-H believes that record keeping is an important life skill as part of a rich project-based learning experience,” Sollock said. “Kids can use smart devices, or pen and paper, or hop on a computer periodically to record their project work.”
More information on projects offered through Kansas 4-H or on keeping track of activities is available from your local extension agent.
FOR PRINT PUBLICATIONS: Links used in this story
Kansas 4-H, www.kansas4-h.org
Kansas 4-H project list, www.kansas4-h.org/projects
4-H project report forms, https://www.kansas4-h.org/resources/4-h-library/awards-and-recognition/ProjectRecognition.html
K-State Research and Extension local offices, www.ksre.k-state.edu/about/stateandareamaps.html
K State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county extension offices, experiment fields, area extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K State campus in Manhattan. For more information, visit www.ksre.ksu.edu. K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
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