University of Vermont

"We must become the change we wish to see in the world" ~ Mahatma Ghandi


Teen & Leadership Programs


TRY for the Environment [return to list]

Recipient of the 2015 and 2016 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence

TRY stands for Teens Reaching Youth and is an environmental leadership opportunity for youth in grades 7-12. It is a teen-led environmental education program with an embedded service learning component designed to teach environmental literacy and responsibility to younger youth. TRY for the Environment includes four program areas—renewable energy, waste solutions, food systems and forest and trees —to connect young people to real-world environmental problems in which they can be key change agents helping to create real-world solutions.

The Teens Reaching Youth program has allowed our students to become experts on energy and sustainability issues. It has enabled them to become agents of change through education."
- Don Taylor, Main Street Middle School teacher
The TRY program consists of four program areas:

Each program area curriculum includes 6 different one-hour lessons that are fun, hands-on, and easy to teach!

Renewable Energy highlights wind and solar energy. Grades K-3
Climate Change Through Waste Solutions focuses on the 4Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle and rot. Grades K-3 (revised lessons for 2016-2017)
Food Systems explores the food system and the need to protect our soil, seeds, pollinators and climate. Grades 3-5 (Revised lessons for 2016-2017)
Forests & Trees investigates the functions, life stages and main parts of trees, and how to be a tree steward. Grades 3-5

TRY teams consisting of 2-4 teens and an adult advisor complete a one day training in their program area before they are certified to teach. Teams must apply to the program and be selected.

Important Dates Renewable Energy Climate Change /
Waste Solutions
Food Systems Forests & Trees
Application Deadline November 15, 2016 November 15, 2016 November 15, 2016 November 15, 2016
Acceptance Notification November 21, 2016 November 21, 2016 November 21, 2016 November 21, 2016
Training Date
December 7, 2016
(Dec. 8 or 21, 2016)
December 15, 2016
(Dec. 16 or 21, 2016)
December 20, 2016
(Dec. 21, 2016 or
Jan. 17, 2017)
January 12, 2017
(Jan. 17 or 19, 2017)

TRY teams commit to teaching their program curriculum to 2 different groups of at least 15 youth.

Teams choose who they teach, and where and when they teach. This allows a lot of flexibility in how to fulfill your commitment of teaching two programs.

All programs must be concluded by May 26, 2017. Vacation camps, afterschool programs, libraries, in-school, weekends and summer programming are all options!

Everything you need to be successful will be given to you, including training, teaching materials and ongoing support.

Who can be a TRY team member?

Team members must be in grades 7-12 and should have an interest in learning and teaching about renewable energy, waste solutions or food systems. It's okay if you don't have any knowledge of the issues or know how to teach. We will train you!

Your team must be able to commit to teaching the program to two different groups. That's a minimum 12-hour commitment (plus your preparation time).

4-H TRY on Across the Fence
Who can be a TRY team mentor?

Some ideas of people to ask:Teacher, parent, afterschool instructor, community member, college student (21+ years old), 4-H or Scout leader, Green School Energy Challenge advisor, or any caring adult who wants to mentor your team!

Applying to TRY!

Program Partners

Youth Agriculture Project Lamoille Regional Solid Waste Management District vermont urban and community forestry vermont forests parks and recreation Vermont Energy Education Program

Youth Environmental Summit[return to list]

November 2, 2016

The Youth Environmental Summit (YES!) is an annual conference for middle and high school students. YES! is an opportunity to learn about environmental issues and get involved in local communities. The mission of YES! is to inspire, encourage, and prepare youth for a life of environmental responsibility, service and leadership by increasing awareness and knowledge of environmental issues and fostering leadership skills.

At YES! participants engage in hands-on workshops, action-inspiring discussions, networking with environmental professionals and like-minded peers, and much, much more!

Don't miss out - YES! is Vermont's premier environmental conference for young people. This year's event is November 2, 2016 at the Barre Civic Center in Barre, Vermont. All young people in grades 7-12 are eligible to attend.

Before going to the registration page, please review all of the 2016 YES Conference Information Materials which include the following:

Registration opens on September 12, 2016. Once you have reviewed all materials and selected your workshops, please Register online at by October 15, 2015. If you require a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Lauren Traister at 866-260-5603 x402 no later than October 15, 2016 so we may assist you.

Remember: Online registration is not only quicker and saves paper but you will be able to see in real-time which workshops are available. If you are unable to register online, please download the registration forms and mail them in to the address listed on the forms.

Want to know more about YES!? Watch our Across the Fence Episode!

Natural Resources Management Academy[return to list]

July 8-10, 2016 Register Now! application deadline is June 17, 2016

A program for youth who are passionate about the environment and are ready to explore Vermont's natural resources in-depth. Experts from around Vermont lead workshops and skill-building activities.

Article in UVM Extension's 2012 Annual Report

Registration is now open. Space is limited so please register as early as possible. The registration deadline is June 17, 2016 More information and offline registration can be found in our Registration Flyer

Leadership Conference[return to list]

A half-day or full-day conference offered to schoools or groups who are interested in leadership development for its youth. Activities focus on leadership, team building, communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and goal setting. Programs can be tailored to fit your specific needs.

Want to know more? Watch our Across the Fence Episode!

Leadership Development Class [return to list]

Taught using the experiential learning model, your students will participate in a minimum of six classes, one hour each, that will help develop leadership, teamwork, communication, critical thinking, problem solving, goal setting and other important life skills.

For 4-H Members only

TRY 4-H! [return to list]

TRY 4-H! is our newest leadership opportunity for 4-H members ages 13-18. It is a teen-led program specifically designed to help grow the Vermont 4-H program. Through fun, hand-on activities TRY 4-H! teens will engage with younger youth and get them excited to join 4-H. This program is looking to tap into the passion, knowledge and experience with 4-H that we know our older members have and love to share!

TRY stands for Teens Reaching Youth, and the TRY program model is an excellent way to engage 4- teens in their communities throuhg volunteerism and service, to develop leadership and life skills, and to help reach new youth that currently are not involved with 4-H.

Teens who apply and are accepted to the TRY 4-H! program will become Teen Ambassadors. Each county will have a TRY 4-H! program and up to four teens will be chosen to serve as their county's TRY 4-H! Teen Ambassadors. One adult will be chosen as the TRY 4-H! Mentor. Applications for both teens and adults are online. Note: Teens applying should encourage an adult they know to apply to serve as mentor.

Teen Ambassadors and Mentors will serve a one-year term and will be expected to do the following:

  • Submit an application by May 15, 2016 and be selected to serve.
  • Attend a two-day, overnight training on June 27-28, 2016 at Lyndon State College.
  • Coordinate with other Teen Ambassadors in your county to organize county TRY 4-H! programs. You will need to find a different location to host each program, recruit participants, and more.
  • Run two TRY 4-H! programs between July 1—December 31, 2016. Each program runs for 1.5 hours.
  • Attend a one-day training in January 2017. Location & date TBD; most likely held in southern VT.
  • Run two TRY 4-H! programs between February 1—June 30, 2017.
  • Complete a TRY Reflection after each program.
  • Complete a TRY Data Sheet after each program.
  • Assist with county and state events (if asked and are available to help).
  • Promote 4-H in county; be a positive role model.
  • Keep track of all TRY 4-H! activity supplies.


Teen Leadership Weekend[return to list]

An exciting, activity-filled weekend where participants learn valuable leadership skills and engage in fun team-building games while having the opportunity to meet new friends from around the state.

This year's event is November 18-20, 2016.

Check out the Registration brochure.

4-H Exploration Teen Board[return to list]

Teen Board is an opportunity for 4-H members in grades 10-12 gain real leadership experience while continuing to develop life skills. Involvement on Teen Board will require commitment, engagement, and follow-through. Board members provide input in the planning and implementation of 4-H Exploration and deliver on-site leadership at the event. Teen Board Flyer

There are only 6 spots available. To apply, you must complete an application form and attend Teen Leadership Weekend. Interviews will be conducted at Teen Leadership Weekend before final selections are made.

Teen Board is a great way to meet other 4-H teens, develop your leadership skills and have fun! Download the application today!

4-H Exploration[return to list]

July 18-19, 2016 Registration deadline June 12, 2016.

A two day, one night event on the UVM Campus in Burlington for 4-H youth ages 11-14 (as of Jan 1) with workshops, games, other 4-Hers, a field trip and more! All activities are planned and executed by the 4-H Teen Board.


Online Registration

National 4-H Conference [return to list]

April 9-14, 2016


The National 4-H Conference is the premier civic engagement opportunity for 4-H members (15-19 yrs.) who are actively engaged in 4-H programs across the U.S. and its territories. This experience upholds a tradition dating back to 1927. Known then as the "National 4-H Club Camp", delegates slept in tents on the grounds of the National Mall in front of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, DC. Held annually, except for several years during World War II, the camp served to develop the next generation of leaders. Delegates attended training workshops, became acquainted with government and had the opportunity to meet with state leaders. In 1958, the event name was changed to National 4-H Conference and, in 1959, the meeting moved from the National Mall to the newly founded National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, MD (right outside of Washington, D.C.).

Delegates arrive at the National 4-H Conference Center ready to connect, learn, engage, lead and impact their communities, their nation and their world. Here is how it plays out:

  • Delegates self-select into round table topics during registration
  • Round table sessions are conducted during the conference where in a group, delegates:
    • identify and develop their perspective on the topic through research and deliberation
    • find and share their own voice by listening and contributing
    • develop a briefing on the topic that includes background information, facts, and recommendations
  • Workshops are conducted to enhance the delegates' knowledge, competencies, and skills related to civic engagement
  • Every delegate, as part of their roundtable team, goes to a federal agency that has interest in their topic. The roundtable team presents their briefing to the federal agency representatives and engages in meaningful dialogue.
  • State delegations arrange visits to their Congressional delegations to on Capitol Hill. This continues delegates' experience in developing and sharing their voice with decision makers
  • Delegates connect with each other throughout the conference through fun and educational opportunities
  • Delegates enjoy a true partnership with roundtable facilitators, the conference leadership team, adult advisors, and federal staff from 4-H National Headquarters and many other agencies.

National 4-H Conference is the pinnacle experience in 4-H Citizenship, providing the opportunity for young people to connect, learn, engage, lead and impact their communities, their nation and their world.

Apply Online! or Download the PDF Application.

Citizenship Washington Focus [return to list]

We will not be offering this trip in 2016

A dynamic week long program at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland - just minutes from downtown Washington, D.C. Workshops, debates, and discussions are complemented by field trips and visits to the capitol's historic and cultural sites, as well as the opportunity to meet with Vermont's Congressional delegation.

Visit the National 4-H Youth Conference Webpage or watch the CWF 2013 YouTube video to learn more.

Last modified September 21 2016 11:06 AM