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Showing posts from May, 2017

Safe spaces matter more than labels for LGBT youth

By Joseph Rand In grad school, I often heard the term "queer" used to describe LGBT  youth - without any negative connotation, just as a neutral term. I also have vivid memories from my younger days of being called queer as an insult. So when this word is used to describe the community I belong to, it often often trips me up.  Furthermore, in my rural context, "queer" is not a term that has been effective or comfortable, compared with terms like LGBT, gay or lesbian. What do all those acronyms and terms mean? How much do they matter? LGBTQIA ... LMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ …  Let’s be real! It’s a lot to digest if it's a topic that’s new to you. It's a lot to comprehend even when it’s not new! The other day, a ninth grader I've known for a year or so told me they were identifying as gender fluid. I felt really dumb because I didn't know exactly what that meant and I wanted to be supportive. I felt guilty because as a member of the LGBT community, I’m

Make change with a cultural exchange

By Kathryn Sharpe Do you want to create an exchange opportunity for youth that goes beyond a "tourist" experience? Or maybe you want to bring together diverse groups within your community for a meaningful encounter? The 4-H Cultural Exchange model provides an avenue to fulfill these goals. Having facilitated multiple cross-cultural experiences with young people, I've seen the transformative potential, as well as the big challenges that they can bring. I've learned that it's critical to provide intentional preparation for these experiences so that the young people can dive beyond the surface level - where stereotypes can sometimes be reinforced - and get to the deeper conversations and help them dismantle stereotypes. How do we do that?

Moving an experiential learning program online

By Ann Nordby Next week I'll co-present at the National Urban Extension Conference about 4-H online adventures. It's a model we're developing for delivering hands-on experiential learning online. The seemingly opposite ideas of "hands-on" and "online" are actually very compatible. If you've ever searched on Youtube for how to prune hydrangeas or change a tire, you understand the value of video for teaching. If you've ever shared your own video on Facebook, you probably did it because it explained something better than you could do in words. You may also have experienced how online games can do more than entertain –  they can teach and enlighten . Our team still has many questions. For example, we’re still discovering how best to integrate evaluation, what are the best dosage and duration of a learning module and how to take it to scale. None of our questions has to do with whether to move our program online. There are compelling reaso