University of Vermont

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


Teen & Leadership Programs


    These programs will not be offered in 2017:
  • 4-H Exploration
  • 4-H Exploration Teen Board
  • Citizenship Washington Focus
  • National 4-H Conference

TRY for the Environment

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 [return to top]

Youth Environmental Summit

November 2, 2017

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, 2017 at the Barre Civic Center in Barre, Vermont. All young people in grades 7-12 are eligible to attend.

Registration available by September 1, 2017.

Want to know more about YES!? Watch our Across the Fence Episode! [return to top]

Natural Resources Management Academy

NRMA is 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.

July 7-9, 2017 Flyer | Register Online

Article in UVM Extension's 2012 Annual Report. [return to top]

Leadership Conference / Transferable Skills Workshop

What are transferable skills? And how do students recognize these skills in themselves? The 4-H program has been doing this for over 100 years, though we call them life skills. Help your students gain these critical skills by participating in a customized workshop through experiential learning activities. Students will have a fun and safe way to build skills and recognize ways to use these skills in real world situations. Download the "Helping Students Gain Transferable Skills" brochure.

Want to know more? Watch our Across the Fence Episode! [return to top]

Leadership Development Class

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. [return to top]


LEAD stands for Leaders Emerging And Developing. 4-H is all about developing leadership skills in young people and giving opportunities to use these skills in meaningful ways. 4-H LEAD is a series of different programs to learn and practice leadership skills throughout the year.

Download the Brochure

Individual Event Brochures 2017

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Leadership Washington Focus

Leadership Washington Focus (LWF) is the only national leadership development experience exclusively designed for 4-H'ers entering grades 7-9. Participants ​will ​be ​immersed ​in ​the ​culture ​and ​history ​of ​our ​nation ​through ​on-site ​workshops ​at ​D.C.'s ​most ​spectacular ​sites. ​ This program will take place at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, just 1 mile from Washington, D.C.

This year's event is July 17-21, 2017. Check out the brochure or register online.
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TRY 4-H!

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.

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Last modified May 24 2017 11:42 AM