4-H T.E.A.M. program trains teens statewide

The 2012-2013 school year will be one filled with excitement through the SDSU Extension, 4-H Youth Development's Teens Educating through Advocacy and Mentorship program (T.E.A.M).

Twelve South Dakota school districts and afterschool programs from across the state will be hosting 66 Teens in their implementation of the healthy living program, says Suzanne Geppert, 4-H Youth Partnerships Field Specialist.

"The strong support and positive feedback received from the teens participating, the school district's support, as well as the dedication of our 4-H Youth Advisors attributes greatly as to its success," said Geppert.

Schools applied to join the program in early October, 2012. Applications were reviewed and teachers, 4-H advisors and teens were trained in the program at the SDSU Regional Extension Centers in Pierre and Watertown in November and December.

"The main goal behind this program is to not only educate through content but prepare these young people to become employable adults in the future," Geppert said.

She says one common theme presented to the youth throughout the program is the quote by John Ruskin, "The highest reward for a person's work is not what they get for it, but what they become because of it." 

"We want these youth to have a real-life career exploration experience that will prepare them for future leadership roles; whether it is in business, education, or community involvement," she said.

T.E.A.M is a tiered program that not only prepares teens to become employable adults, but also helps them build strong leadership skills that will help them in their personal and school setting. Once they complete Tier 2, students can apply to do an individual project in Tier 3 that becomes a personal advocacy program.

"Showing personal leadership and being a driven individual are skills that employers are looking for in today's fast-paced society," said Audrey Rider, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Leadership Field Specialist.

Teens participating in the program are trained by 4-H Field Specialists in the Experiential Learning Model and the importance of making a lesson age appropriate, program resources – including the use of the South Dakota Teens as Teachers Wiki Site, Creating Community Action Plans, Development of Community Partnerships, Lesson Plan Development and what is means to be a professional.

Danette Jarzab, Community Wellness Coordinator for the SD Discovery Center trained youth in the implementation of the Harvest of the Month program and Kari Senger, Healthy Schools Program Manager for the Alliance for Healthier Generations, talked to teens about empowering themselves to take action within their communities and schools to increase positive health habits.

This round of 4-H Teens as Teachers utilizes the Harvest of the Month Healthy Living Program offered by the SD Discovery Center. Teens are expected to utilize that resource as well as other resources provided to teach lessons to elementary age youth.

South Dakota 4-H Youth Advisors, will work with school/afterschool personnel to monitor the program and take on necessary leadership roles for its completion.

This SDSU Extension 4-H program partners youth with the South Dakota 4-H Foundation, local FCCLA Chapters, 21st Century Learning Centers, S.D. Discovery Center, Alliance for Healthier Generations, Coordinated School Health, and community leaders and agencies to create learning communities that allow youth the opportunity to experience greatness by making a difference within their communities and schools. It allows youth to problem solve and plan by developing and carrying out lesson plans for grades 2-5 that are relevant to the SD Health Education Standards.

For more information on the 4-H T.E.A.M program Tier 2: Teens as Teachers, contact Suzy Geppert, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Partnerships Field Specialist at 605-773-8120, suzanne.geppert@sdstate.edu , or Audrey Rider, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Leadership Field Specialist at 605-882-5140, audrey.rider@sdstate.edu , or Andrea Klein, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Development and Resiliency Field Specialist at 605-773-8120, andrea.klein@sdstate.edu.

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