Access for All: Putting 4-H Kits into the Hands of Youth, Families and Educators

4-H educators across the state and collaborators on the Cornell University campus harbor a wealth of kits and curricula that advance Positive Youth Development. The high-quality educational materials and equipment cover topic areas in STEM, natural resources, healthy living, civic engagement, animal science, and food systems. These materials are widely distributed, but not uniformly inventoried or promoted.  

We propose to have our CCE Summer Intern develop a database of kits and curricula by surveying 4-H programs and creating publicly accessible graphic display materials and contacts. There is a demonstrated need for this vital service. Youth-focused CCE Program Work Teams have been meeting for over a year to discuss strategies to enable more robust use of our homegrown resources in our communities.

Roles and responsibilities 

The CCE Summer Intern will help develop and complete a statewide survey of kit resources in the CCE system. The intern will communicate regularly with the 4-H PWT representatives for guidance regarding online, email, and phone survey progress and database development. The intern will use GIS to create a statewide map interface to visualize locations and educator contacts.  

To understand the impact of hands-on learning for youth and leaders and the value of kits and curricula, the intern will assist CCE Rensselaer 4-H educators with summer youth programming. The intern will receive training in Positive Youth Development principles and practices, as well as how educators use pre-existing kits to support their programs.

The intern candidate will help research kit distribution management services for use by 4-H educators statewide.

Kandis Freer is the 4-H STEM Program Work Team County Co-Chair and has been closely involved with the issues of kit and curricula access.

Qualifications and previous coursework

This opportunity is available to non-graduating students in Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

  • Database development and GIS experience are helpful, but not required 
  • An affinity for working with youth is advised

Learning outcomes 

  • The 4-H mission within Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Positive Youth Development applications in CCE association communities 
  • Extension strategies for reaching diverse stakeholders with engaging hands-on activities for youth
  • Relationship between Cornell University research and translatable data for youth engagement
  • Working on a multidisciplinary team
  • Relationship-building skills including oral and written communication with project partners
  • Meeting and solving challenges to resource sharing in a distributed organization