4-H is changing. A couple of weeks ago at our annual staff development conference, the theme was "Building on traditions and inviting transformation." A few short months from now, we will host the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) National Conference, where the theme will be "Tradition and Transformation".
Do you see a pattern? Transformation! Tradition has been the foundation to the 4-H educational model. The model includes youth-adult partnerships, the development of 21st century skills and a pathway to higher education. Today we are transforming our traditions for the 21st century.
Two recent experiences made me reflect on how both our staff and our programs are being transformed. I have been part of a Shared Learning Diversity and Inclusion Cohort, and in our most recent gathering, we looked at intercultural guidelines and skills that can be useful when trying to be transformative from within and with communities. These skills include things like:
- staying curious
- asking clarifying questions
- being open to new ideas and perspectives
- listening to internal messages
- giving feedback
- acknowledging failure
- acknowledging not knowing
- mutual adaptation
Another example is from our urban 4-H program. Take a look at how it is being transformed by African culture. Minnesota's population is diversifying rapidly. A significant number of Minnesota 4-H members are new African immigrants. We are not letting go of what traditions have given us but we are transforming the educational experiences we offer to suit the young people living in our communities today.
Have you used intercultural guidelines and skills to transform traditions? How could we use them to transform youth development into the 21st century? What diversity and inclusion practices have help you to transform youth programs? Share your examples with me and let's learn together!
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