The Windsor Central School District is increasing the presence of the 4-H program from one elementary school to three. It is also hiring a group of high school teen mentors, thanks to a Promise Zone grant, to help with the expansion.
Mackenzie Rogers, Alexis Twitchell, Kaylee Franklin, Kirsten Benedict, Megan McLaughlin, Brianna See, Amara Keefer, Cassidy Millward, and Chyenne Kingsley are training to work with the young students in the 4-H club.
“We’re training them on what positive youth development is, how to engage kids, what the 4-H model is, and how it’s different than a classroom,” said Kelly Adams, 4-H Program Coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County.
4-H is expanding from just being at Weeks Elementary last year to meeting at all three District elementary schools. Meetings will take place at Palmer Elementary each Tuesday from 3p-5p, at Bell Elementary each Wednesday from 3p-5p, and Weeks each Thursday from 3p-5p.
“This makes it more like the 4-H model which stresses smaller groups. We’ve also recruited additional adults as well as the teen mentors,” said Adams.
The teens begin mentoring after Windsor’s winter recess, when the club will have activities such as robotics, kitchen science, and outdoor work such as gardening.
“I’m in 4-H now in Cortland County. I thought it would be good to get involved here and share what I’ve done in 4-H the last five years,” said Millward.
“4-H gives them a lot of opportunities. They can get scholarships, they can find a career,” said McLaughlin.
The high school mentors know there’s something in it for them as well.
“It’s fun. It’s hands-on,” said Keefer.
“It’s a good way to make a connection with other kids in the district,” said Benedict.
“You can see the smile on their face when you take the time out to help them,” said Millward.