Vermont 4-H offers a wide variety of opportunities which enable teens to develop knowledge, skills, attitudes, and aspirations needed for success in the 21st century. Teens can participate in programs focused on LEADERSHIP, CITIZENSHIP, and LIFESKILLS, through exploring a variety of topics.
TRY for the Environment
Recipient of the 2015, 2016 and 2017 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 five program areas—energy FUNdamentals, waste solutions, food systems, forest and trees and TRY 4-H20 —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 five program areas:
Each program area curriculum includes 6 different one-hour lessons that are fun, hands-on, and easy to teach!
Energy FUNdamentals highlights wind and sun energy engineering. Grades K-3
Climate Change Through Waste Solutions focuses on the 4Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle and rot. Grades 1-3
Food Systems explores the food system and the need to protect our soil, seeds, pollinators and climate. Grades 2-4
Forests & Trees investigates the basic concepts of forest and tree stewardship. Grades 2-4
TRY 4-H20 examines the water cycle, watersheds, water quality and health, and aquatic life. Grades 3-4.
TRY Lessons are taught by TRY teams consisting of 2-4 teen teachers and adult mentor who are trained to teach specific lessons to younger students. Teams must apply to the program and be selected.
Information and application for 2019-2020 is available! (End of this article)
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 24, 2019. 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).
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!
Youth Environmental Summit (YES)
Speak Out. Act Up. Be the Change. Attend the 2019 Youth Environmental Summit at the Barre Civic Center, Barre, Vt.
YES is an annual event for students in grades 6‐12 who want to learn about environmental issues and find ways to take action. 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. All young people in grades 6-12 are eligible to attend.
Want to know more about YES!? Watch our Across the Fence Episode!
Natural Resources Management Academy
The dates for NRMA are July 19-21, 2019.
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. Online Registration is now available, deadline June 1, 2019.
NRMA Article (PDF)in UVM Extension's 2012 Annual Report.
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" (PDF)
Want to know more? Watch our Across the Fence Episode!
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.
VTeen Leadership Weekend
New this year, open to all Vermont teens in grades 7-12. A fun-filled weekend developing important skills and traits that will help you stretch and improve your leadership, communication, problem solving, teamwork and other transferable skills to take back to your club work, school and community.
This year's event is November 15-17, 2019. Space is limited to 50 participants. Registration closes October 25.
VTeen 4-H Science Pathways Cafe
It is a free, fun way for teens to explore science, engineering and technology with local scientists, engineers and technology experts. Teens participate in informal discussions and hands-on activities to learn about different topics. And, there is always free food! Planned and run by teens for teens. Save the dates! Future Cafés (PDF)
Join the Leadership Team! (PDF) Applications due by June 1
Upcoming Café: Between a Rock and a Soil Place
September 28, 2019. University of Vermont, Davis Center, Mansfield Dining Room (Free pizza and drinks! Registration deadline: September25)
Come learn how scientists can work together to tackle big issues like acid rain and climate change and translate these findings to policy. Gain a new perspective on New England history through a uniquely geological lens. Plus, get your hands dirty exploring how soil properties such as color, texture, and porosity can affect soil fertility and water!
- All in the Genes
- How Energy Storage Works & Why It Matters
- The Science of Stress
- Astrobiology: Life Among the Stars
- Proteins - It's Not Just for Dinner!
- Fibers, Fragments, Films and Foams: Beyond the Bead - Microplastics in Lake Champlain
- What’s Buzzing in Entomology?
VTeen 4-H Trail Stewards
June - October 2019.
Elmore State Park in Elmore; and Little River State Park in Waterbury
We know that young people care about and want to protect our lands. VTeen 4-H Trail Stewards is a new partnership with Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, and will be an integral part of trail maintenance on state lands. Maintain your trails from June 1—October 19, 2019, twice a month (every other week) for approximately 4 hours each visit.
Complete the Volunteer Application (PDF) by May 1, 2019
Summer of Science—Summer of Fun!
This summer 2019, experience 5 exciting and unique science opportunities, for youth in grades 7-12:
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Camp - June 24-28
- Farming, Climate Change & Water Quality - July 11
- Natural Resources Management Academy - July 19-21
- Science on Lake Champlain - July 25
- The Science of Maple - July 31
Register Online by June 1, 2019.
Leadership Washington Focus (4-H Members Only)
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.
The next LWF event will be July 15-19. The registration deadline is January 15, 2019.
TRY 4-H! (4-H Members Only)
TRY 4-H! is a leadership opportunity for 4-H members in grades 7-12 (Fall 2019). This teen-led program is specifically designed to help grow Vermont 4-H. Teens who apply and are accepted will become 4-H Teen Ambassadors. TRY 4-H! is looking to tap into the passion, knowledge, and experience with 4-H that we know our older members have and love to share!
NEW THIS YEAR! We want more teens to get involved in TRY 4-H! and recognize that teens have pretty busy schedules. So we are offering two different terms of service; each term will last for 4 months. The first term will run from August 15— December 15 and the second term will run from January 15 – May 15. In June/July we will bring all Teen Ambassadors together for a fun celebration of service—the celebration activity will be decided by Teen Ambassadors (e.g, water park, river float, beach day, etc.).
Teen Ambassadors will serve a 4 month term and will be expected to do the following:
- Submit an application by August 1, 2019 and be selected to serve from August 15—December 15. (Applications for the January-May term will be due no later than December 1, 2019.)
- Attend a mandatory Teen Ambassador training on August 15 from 4-7 pm at the UVM Extension Office in Berlin. All other meetings are held over Zoom, an online meeting platform. You just need a computer or smartphone to connect—or you can call in over the phone. We will meet once per month; date & time to be decided by group.
- Communicate regularly via email and attend Zoom video conference meetings once a month.
- Promote 4-H in your community and around Vermont either solo or with other Teen Ambassadors. The goal is to try to do at least 3-4 promotions during your term as teen ambassador. Promotions are anything from exhibit tables, hosting an activity for younger kids, writing a story for your paper, creating a video and posting to Instagram, etc. There are lots of ways to promote 4-H!
- During the August-December term the focus will be on hosting information and activity tables at school open houses, farmers markets and other events/promotions (e.g. Wag It Forward: Festival for Pets). The focus for the January-July term will be on 4-H State Day. Teen ambassadors will assist in the planning, promotion and staffing of this event. Teen ambassadors in this term may also want to take the lead in planning for 4-H Service Day or host an information and activity table at events (e.g. Burlington Kids Day).
- Promote 4-H in your community, your county and the around the State; be a positive 4-H role model.
Citizenship Washington Focus (4-H Members Only)
This years CWF takes place June 30 - July 7, 2018.
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.
Registration closed January 15, 2018.