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Youth Connect Communities With New Technology

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From blogging to podcasting to creating online videos, 4H youth are leading the way, using new media and communication tools to share breaking news, event coverage and educational information with their community.
For example, the 4H News technology club in Jefferson County, Wash., provides onthespot reports through video clips and podcasts posted to their 4H Network News Web site. Club members have covered a fire in an historic hotel and a Red Cross disaster training exercise and conducted interviews with local business leaders. The youth are handson in every step of putting together the onetotwominute news segments. "We get ideas about what well do and who well interview, then we take the camera, tape footage, put it on the computers and edit it," 15yearold Sophie Gilbert said.
Gilbert first created a video about a school reunion but quickly saw the educational value for her community. She has produced segments about avoiding drugs and alcohol and a beach restoration project. "There is a need for us to talk about some of the important things going on in our county and in the world," she said. The club came together as a collaboration among the local 4H club, the Washington State University Extension office and the local newspaper. Jack Olmsted, 4H leader for the club, Pamela Roberts, 4H coordinator for the Jefferson County 4H office, and the newspapers publisher work closely with the youth. "Online media can be a priceless resource to capture not only the value of the 4H experience, but also for our community, country and the world," said Olmsted. "The youth are getting the process down and planning segments while making them enjoyable but also informative." The 4H reporters publish their stories to an international audience using tools that are readily available in homes and officesa video camera, computer linked to the Internet and telephone. "It is important to show the world that this can be done and its easy for anyone to do," said 13yearold Daniel Bryant. Club members see themselves as a resource to others who want to start using online media. They also improve their public speaking skills and build selfesteem as they teach adults how to create and post news segments.

4H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.


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