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  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Communication

When the pandemic nixed the in-person component of their 4-H Rural Storytelling Project internship, Madison Albano ‘21, Wendy Ying Lau ’21 and Seth Bollinger ’21 put together a virtual program for kids across three New York state counties, culminating with a virtual showcase of youth storytelling talent.

In a recent episode of the “Extension Out Loud” podcast, the interns – joined by their Cornell Cooperative Extension advisers and a few 4-H participants – talked about the experience, lessons learned and memories made. Albano and Lau are from the College of Arts and Sciences; Bollinger is from the Dyson School in the SC Johnson College of Business.

In collaboration with 4-H program leaders from CCE Dutchess and CCE Columbia and Greene Counties, the Rural Storytelling Project, was offered in partnership with Cornell’s Office of Engagement Initiatives (OEI) and was designed to engage 4-H youth in multimedia, written and oral storytelling workshops, facilitated by the Cornell student interns.

The Rural Storytelling Project was the brainchild of Melanie Forstrom, a 4-H program issue leader at CCE Ulster County.

“Storytelling is a way to get out of these monoliths of what it is to live in a rural community, what it is to live in an urban community, what it is live in a suburban community,” Forstrom said.

Full episodes of “Extension Out Loud,” including descriptions and transcripts of each episode, are available online. Episodes also are streamed on Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud.

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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