PROJECT CLOSED: 4-H Program Development: From Farm to City – Youth Programming Establishment in the city of Cortland.

Worksite Location
City of Cortland and CCE Cortland County
Project Dates
June 1, 2020 to August 15, 2020
Faculty Sponsor
Sarah Giroux, Department of Development Sociology
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Rebecca Ireland-Perry
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

For many years, the 4-H Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cortland County has been based primarily on the traditional rural 4-H club model. While 4-H has always had a strong presence in rural areas, it has not had much of a presence within the county’s largest city-Cortland. To better serve a more diverse youth population in the city of Cortland, the 2019 internship will be a research project to determine programmatic needs and access points where 4-H can strengthen opportunities for youth development within the city. The research will include consideration of projects from across other regions, within New York State, and a needs assessment for the City of Cortland. The goal is to increase opportunities for growth to youth populations who may not be familiar with, or have access to, traditional 4-H. This will include a review of the available opportunities of the Cortland Jr Fair as a showcase for youth development and approaches to increase relevance and interaction with youth housed within the city limits.

Roles and Responsibilities

The intern will work with the faculty advisor, 4-H Youth Development Educator, and city leadership to implement a research project. The project will include four elements: 1. A literature review of youth development projects identifying the most common types, approaches, and indicators of success. Targeted outcomes include soft skills, technical skills, and empowerment/mental health. 2. A program review identifying programs that serve youth and clarifying the activities, goals and self-assessed impacts of such programs. 3. A program needs assessment via focus groups and interviews with key leaders within the city and school system. The intent is to identify the types of needs youth have that are not currently met and how new programs might address these needs. 4. Program Development using the information gained to map out new pathways for 4-H to intersect and engage with city and school resources to meet the identified needs and increase youth awareness of key 4-H objectives in STEM and youth development topics. The Cortland County Jr Fair is a point of interaction that is in need of increased recruitment and relevance to the youth based within the city limits. Awareness and skill development programs targeting urban youth in partnership with related community organizations.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

Must be a full-time CALS sophomore or junior. Graduating seniors are not eligible. Must meet NYS Department of Motor Vehicle requirement. A strong interest in youth development and education is essential. Good organizational skills and a willingness to learn focus group and interview techniques as well as program development processes in conjunction with the faculty and community advisors.

Benefits and Skills

• The student will gain (1) a better understanding of applied research development, (2) skills in youth programming and program development, (3) skills in community networking and interviewing techniques.

• The student will gain experience within the Cornell Cooperative Extension system and the 4-H Youth Development program.

• The student will expand their ability to reach diverse audiences as they work within the city of Cortland and develop culturally relevant assessment tools.