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SOURCE National 4-H Council
4-H and Noyce Foundation Release Report on 4-H Science Initiative
CHEVY CHASE, Md., March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 4-H and the Noyce Foundation recently hosted an out-of-school time (OST) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Executive Roundtable. The ground-breaking meeting brought together senior leaders and youth representatives from 4-H, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, and YMCA of the USA, along with CEOs, government officials, and corporate and research partners.
"It's a dream come true to see these groups come together in such a collaborative spirit to think about the future of our kids," said Ron Ottinger, executive director, Noyce Foundation. "This is the launch of a common effort that we all believe will give the youth we serve access to STEM learning that they would not have without this joint effort."
"To think about the power of our brands and what we can do together is new and exciting. At the same time, we must always remember to put youth at the center of our efforts," said Jennifer Sirangelo, National 4-H Council Chief Operating Officer.
The purpose of the two-day event on February 6-7 was to focus on STEM learning and youth development, which served as a launching point for a national collaborative and partnership effort. The meeting was the first of its kind as six of the largest youth development organizations in the country, representing 20 million children and teens, convened to discuss what each is doing in STEM learning in their respective organizations, share experiences, and begin discussions on ways they can create a common agenda and mission to make science learning and careers a priority for all six together.
"The 4-H STEM Executive Roundtable was an incredible opportunity for youth development experts and corporate and foundation partners to create real strategies to unleash the potential of all youth in STEM and particularly those underrepresented in this area, including girls and people of color," said Judy Vredenburgh, president and CEO, Girls Inc. "I am excited to move these partnerships forward so more youth have access to positive spaces to discover, problem solve, and gain critical exposure to STEM and related career role models."
"Girl Scouts offers STEM programs-on topics ranging from website design to robotics to environmental science-for girls from kindergarten through twelfth grade," said Suzanne Harper, senior director, Program Resources, Girl Scouts of the USA. "Because we are a leadership development organization, girls not only learn about STEM, but explore how STEM professionals can help people and change the world. The STEM Executive Roundtable offered inspiration and energy as the participants shared their missions and explored how we can all work more collaboratively to help more young people get involved in STEM."
The meeting was also an opportunity for the organizations to learn from the 4-H science initiative whereas National 4-H Council together with 4-H National Headquarters at USDA and the Cooperative Extension System released the 4-H Science Initiative from Inception to Impact. Dr. Beth Birnstihl, national director, 4-H Mission to Market, National 4-H Council, and predecessor Dr. Eddie Locklear led teams of 4-H professionals in developing the comprehensive report and presented its findings.
As a major funder of the 4-H initiative, the Noyce Foundation urged 4-H to share the report more broadly with others, including several of the largest youth development organizations in the United States. The report, which outlines methodologies, lessons learned, promising practices and recommendations, is the result of a seven-year 4-H initiative which was built and implemented in response to the shortage of U.S. leadership in STEM fields and the need for quality, impactful OST programs. The goal of the 4-H initiative was to engage one million new youth in 4-H science programs by 2013. Last fall, 4-H reached its goal ahead of schedule-adding to the youth that are already engaged in five million science projects. To download the report, visit www.4-H.org/youthstem.
"Boys & Girls Clubs of America is supporting vitally important STEM education in our clubs through a mix of programs that include hands-on tech workshops for girls and innovative digital literacy activities to make developing these skills fun and appealing. We are also forging relationships with premier organizations to continue offering our youth the latest in this ever-evolving field," said Kimberly Boyd, vice president, Programs and Youth Development Services, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "BGCA looks forward to continuing this exciting collaborative effort with other youth development organizations, because we believe that working together is an important key to achieving measurable national impact and enabling success for all of America's kids."
At the meeting, there was a high level of support for finding ways to partner at the national level on common goals and programs, including impact metrics. As a next step, the youth development organization leaders agreed to seek a commitment from their respective CEOs to explore collaborative efforts.
"It is exciting to look at the ways we can incorporate STEM education and career preparation into the one-to-one professionally supported mentoring relationships that Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies bring to youth around the country," said T. Charles Pierson, president and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. "The combined efforts of our organizations will make the kind of impact we need to prepare youth for 21st century jobs."
"The Y has a rich heritage of offering STEM as part of our academic enrichment and camp programming," said Jorge Perez, vice president, Youth Development, Family Enrichment and Social Responsibility, YMCA of the USA. "We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with other youth serving organizations who share our commitment to improving educational outcomes and nurturing the potential of every child."
"I was incredibly thankful to all of the leaders and mentors for having the youth ambassadors at such an honorable meeting," said Michael Scott, Mercer County 4-H Science and Technology Ambassador, Mercer County, New Jersey. "Embracing our thoughts and opinions on such critical subjects definitely spoke wonders about the leaders and their character; it certainly meant a lot to me and the other ambassadors."
To continue the conversation on OST STEM, follow National 4-H Council (@4H) or National 4-H Council COO Jennifer Sirangelo (@JSirangelo) and use the hashtag #youthSTEM.
For more information on the participating youth development organizations, visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org), Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (www.bigbrothersbigsisters.org), Girls Inc. (www.girlsinc.org), Girl Scouts of the USA (www.girlscouts.org), and YMCA of the USA (www.ymca.net).
4-H is a community of six million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within USDA. The 4-H programs are implemented by the 111 land grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country. Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.org, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4-H and Twitter at https://twitter.com/4H.
About the Noyce Foundation
The Noyce Foundation is interested in significantly increasing the number of youth in the United States who pursue professions in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). It believes that providing large numbers of young people with out-of-school, engaging, quality, hands-on science, engineering, and technology experiences will enhance general STEM knowledge and stimulate a larger percentage to pursue STEM careers. The Foundation's goal is to support the informal science community in developmental initiatives that address gaps that exist in outcomes measurement, research and evaluation, program scale up, leadership development, and policy issues.
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