Archive for the ‘Opportunities’ Category

4-H SET Opportunity: 4-H/BSA-Planting Science

March 4th, 2010

The 4-H/BSA-PlantingScience collaboration supports the 4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) initiative. It is designed to engage 4-H youth in grades 7th – 12th in hands-on plant investigations by working with peers and scientist mentors to build students’ knowledge and improve their understanding of science. 4-H youth and 4-H leaders will have the opportunity to participate in Planting Science Online Sessions based on Botany and Plant Biology topics. In teams of 3-5 members with a mentor, students will explore core biological concepts of plants and post their research questions and predictions on a team webpage template. Local 4-H state/counties with Junior Master Gardner programs are strongly encouraged to participate, but the collaborative activity is open to all that are interested.

Contact Rene Jefferson, National 4-H SET Project Director, Partnership Development for more information about the Online modules. For more information about the organization, please visit

Holly Bignall, State 4-H E-SET Coordinator

Opportunities, Resources , , ,

Introducing the ACT II Drama Stars 4-H Club!!

December 1st, 2009

Seven girls in Henry County have been practicing their acting skills in this new and exciting special-interest 4-H Club! The girls love to plan their own skits and puppet shows and perform in front of a wide variety of audiences. Whether it is at a pre-school, a 4-H event, on the radio, or in front of an audience in the community, these 4-H’ers are showing off not only their communication talents, but also working on their teamwork and note taking skills. There is no cost to this club. Everything they need comes right from their own homes, and the 4-H program fee is paid by a county-wide soup supper that Henry County 4-H members host on a yearly basis. Right now the girls are working on a video show. They are using flip cameras, and they will be working on filming and editing. There is definitely not a boring moment in this active, youth driven 4-H Club!

For more information, please contact Jennifer Lehman, ACT II Drama Stars 4-H Club Leader (, or Dori Goble, Youth Program Specialist, Region 20 (

Find the Innovative Club Model Description for the Act II Drama Stars 4-H Club, other innovative clubs, and download a template for posting descriptions of your own innovative clubs at We would love to hear what you think of this post! Please comment to us!

Dori Goble, Youth Program Specialist, Region 20
Jennifer Lehman, ACT II Drama Stars 4-H Club Leader

4-H Gets Results!, Clubs, Opportunities , ,

Christopher Columbus Awards

October 26th, 2009

The Christopher Columbus Awards program presents an opportunity for 4-Hers that are interested in math and science to apply their interest in serving their community.  This is a program that would bring learning, service, leadership, and communication.  Clubs that are focused on science may want to participate and youth that are interested in math, science, and service can form teams.

The Christopher Columbus Awards program is a national competition that taps the natural curiosity and creativity of kids to better their communities. The program is designed for sixth through eighth grade students, and they must work in teams of three or four with an adult coach. The team must identify a problem in its community, and devise a solution that requires the team to obtain hands-on experience with the scientific process-exploring, analyzing and drawing conclusions-and learn how to apply it to everyday life.  They have invited Iowa 4-H to participate.

The finalist teams receive an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World ® in Orlando, Florida, to compete in the final judging, and also to attend the Christopher Columbus Academy. The Academy is an educational opportunity that gives the finalists firsthand experience with discovery and innovation, while being guided by experts in science, technology and education.

At an awards ceremony held at Walt Disney World, two gold medal winning teams will receive a $2000 savings bond each and a plaque for each team member along with a plaque for their school/club and one team will receive a $25,000 Columbus Foundation Community Grant to bring their service idea to life.  The competition is geared toward middle school-age children, and gives kids experience in solving real-life problems using the scientific process of exploring, analyzing and drawing conclusions.
Find out more at

Jay Staker, Program Director, Extension-Science, Engineering & Technology

Clubs, Events, Opportunities , ,

National Youth Science Day

September 24th, 2009
NYSD Experiment

NYSD Experiment


Are you considering using the NYSD (National Youth Science Day) experiment with your club, but are a little nervous about how to do it? Great news! The NYSD webpage now has a short how-to video on the experiment. Use this step-by-step animated video guide to learn how to lead and participate in this year’s National Science Experiment. This fun video, sponsored by DuPont and Pioneer, provides a great snapshot of just how easy and engaging Biofuel Blast is! Login to and then go to The Experiment to view and share with others.

Holly Bignall, Campus Youth 4-H Program Specialist, E-SET coordinator

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Parnerships can Make It Happen!

August 31st, 2009

If you’ve heard talk about getting more Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) into 4-H clubs but have no idea how to get started in your area – well here’s one way to make it Happen!

Iowa is loaded with high tech industries: bioengineering, renewable energy, manufacturers of high tech equipment, providers of telecommunications services, medical services, academic research labs, the list goes on and on. Partnering with one of these organizations is a great way to get more SET into your club or start a special interest 4-H club focused on SET.

Here’s an example. One of the Ames Laboratory of Story Co.’s former employees was eager to share his passion for engineering with young people. The Ames Lab was eager to support a 4-H club if it would encourage youth to develop a passion for science and engineering. The situation was ripe for a partnership!

Story Co. 4-H worked with Marcus, the scientist volunteer, to develop a budget for tools and supplies as well as a stipend for the helpers and a budget for a club banner and marketing materials to advertise the club. Marcus decided to develop his own curriculum based on his interests, however, he could have used any of the 4-H curricula available through E-SET and National 4-H. Ames Labs agreed to fund the club, which was named: The Ames Laboratory Tinkering with Science 4-H Club.

The club was a smashing success. We advertised it widely in the community and took registration, signing all the participants up as 4-H members. – Check out this picture of the club members showcasing their engineering feat at the State Fair.

Tinkering Machine

Tinkering Machine

There are a lot of innovative aspects to this club, but what made it work was the partnership between 4-H and Ames Laboratory. Such organizations can not only provide the funding for a SET club, but can also help identify an employee to volunteer for the club, and incentives for this employee such as time off work or a stipend.

Find out more about the innovative structure of the Tinkering with Science 4-H Club by checking out its description on the Innovative Club Models webpage. You can also read descriptions of other innovative clubs and download a template for posting descriptions of your own innovative clubs.

We would love to hear what you think of this post! Please comment on our blog post!

Marcus Johnson, PHD – Lead volunteer for Tinkering with Science 4-H Club
Holly Bignall, Campus 4-H youth program specialist, E-SET coordinator

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Start a new club!

August 28th, 2009

Do you have a hobby or an interest that you have a passion for?  Photography, stargazing, running, cake decorating, model trains, remote control airplanes, knitting, etc. …Do you enjoy being with kids? Why not work with your local county 4-H office to begin a 4-H club where you can share your love of a hobby with youth who have the same interest?

4-H clubs can be very general, where youth learn about a broad variety of subjects.  They can also be very focused on one interest area.  In these cases, youth may enroll in just one project area or many, but they will spend most of their time learning about one project area.

If you have an idea to begin a new 4-H club, why not call your local extension office today.  Find their number by selecting your county on this map

New volunteers will be asked to go through a screening process for the protection of both youth and themselves.  After that, they will help you recruit members to begin a club, and help you learn how to be a good leader.

Get started today!
Lisa Berkland, Region 2 4H Youth Development Program Specialist

Clubs, Opportunities ,

National Science Day

July 13th, 2009

Check out the National Youth Science Day (NYSD) experiment for 2009!

If you’re looking for something fun, and relevant to your club members’ lives and future, participating in this event is a great way to go. This experiment and the online resources that go with it would also make a great addition to new member recruitment efforts and for sharing what 4-H has to offer with your community.

Here’s the news release from National 4-H:

Registration Open for 4-H National Youth Science Day

On October 7, 2009, millions of youth across the nation will participate in 4-H National Youth Science Day, an event designed to engage young people in the environmental issues facing the nation. This year, youth will complete the “Biofuel Blast” science experiment to learn how renewable products, such as harvested plant materials, can make energy. Youth and adult leaders can sign up to participate online at

To view the full news release online, visit

Please contact the E-SET office ( with questions or to share your plans for participating in and publicizing this opportunity.


-Holly Bignall, Iowa 4-H E-SET Program Assistant

Clubs, Events, Opportunities , ,

4-H Program Grants

July 13th, 2009

Check out these great opportunities for 4-H program funding! If these possibilities look interesting to you or your club members, don’t hesitate to contact the Extension Science, Engineering, and Technology ( program for more information and suggestions as well as guidance in applying for these grants.

  1. 2009 Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs Green Team Iowa Grant Program
    • Grants Available for Local Environmental Team/Volunteer Activities
    • Contributions ranging from $500-$2500, to non-profits focused on the following three categories: Renewable Energy, Green Buildings and Sustainable Agriculture.
    • These categories are not exclusive, but activities in those areas are encouraged.
    • Program aims to fund activities that promote team member engagement and local environmental volunteer efforts.
  2. For an application, please email Deadline for completed applications is noon August 24. For more information, contact Brad Gerndt, Founder & President, Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs Green Team Iowa,, 515-324-2878, cell: 515-291-4376.

  3. JCPenney Afterschool Fund FIRST Robotics Team Mini-Grants
    • 38 mini-grants totaling $92,500 are available.
    • All members of either new or existing teams must be enrolled 4-H members.
    • Team must be located in a JCPenney Geographic District
    • Team must recognize the JCPenney AFterschool Fund on promotional material.
    • Team must compete in at least one sanctioned robotics competition. (For information about FIRST competitions in Iowa, contact the E-SET office (
    • Application Deadline: August 7, 2009
    • Award Amount Range: $500 – $10,000
    • Project Start/End: Aug. 31, 2009 to May 28, 2010
Teams FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) FIRST LEGO League (FLL)
(age 14-18; teams up to 40 youth) (age 14-18; teams up to 10 youth) (age 9-14; teams up to 10 youth)
New Teams 4 grants, $10,000 each 10 grants, $2000 each 5 grants, $1000 each
Existing Teams 4 grants, $2500 each 10 grants, $1500 each 5 grants, $500 each
Total 8 grants: $50,000 20 grants: $35,000 10 grants: $7,500

To review the RFP and apply for funding, please visit the online portal at .   (Note: you will have to register on the website before you can see grant details).

For further information about FRC, FTC, and FLL in Iowa contact the E-SET office

-Holly Bignall,  Iowa 4-H E-SET Program Assistant

Clubs, Opportunities, Resources , ,

New, Garden-based 4-H Science Clubs

June 30th, 2009

Linda Naeve and I just had to share these success stories (PDF) about how three new 4-H clubs were started that connected youth and caring adults with common interests in gardening.

Note how the Story, Dickinson, and Worth County clubs were started by Master Gardeners, a CYC, and a sixth grader that connected with their local 4-H office and got things rolling. Story and Dickinson are using 4-H Growing in the Garden lessons and activities to plan fun, educational sessions.

We are discovering other gardening groups that have not transitioned into clubs. Why not? It only takes a seed!

–Janet Toering

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Can anybody spare a wedding dress?

June 9th, 2009

The wedding dress that you no longer need could get a new life as a deconstructed and reconstructed new designer garment. All you have to do is donate it to the Iowa 4-H Foundation for the Stitch This! fashion design competition at the Iowa State Fair Aug. 21-22.

We got the idea for Stitch This! as a way to use the nine wedding dresses that didn’t sell at last year’s 4-H auction. We’d get nine teen teams — one per dress. Then, over the course of two days at the Iowa State Fair, each team would take the dress apart and use their creativity to design and construct a wearable garment from the pieces. Each team would be paired with an Iowa State University Textiles and Clothing student who would provide direction and overall expertise on patternmaking and construction.

Well, we have been overwhelmed by the response. We have applications from 50 individuals for a total of 14 teams. (You can view video applications from some of the teams on the Iowa 4-H YouTube Channel, They’re all hoping to be selected for the competition. If we just had a few more wedding dresses …

So – if you know of a wedding dress that needs a new life, please contact me at or (515) 294-1607 by June 15th. Thanks so much!

— Shelly Greving, marketing coordinator for the Iowa 4-H Foundation

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