Title

Closing the Opportunity Gap for Youth in 4-H Camping Programs

First Presenter's Institution

West Virginia University

Second Presenter's Institution

West Virginia University

Third Presenter's Institution

none

Fourth Presenter's Institution

none

Fifth Presenter's Institution

none

Location

Meet & Greet Poster Reception (Harborside)

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

West Virginia University Extension fosters a social and emotional opportunity for youth to attend their 4-H camping programs, with purposeful inclusion of youth who may be placed at risk by poverty. A review of previous years of attendance revealed insufficient youth involvement for those who claimed free/reduced priced school meals. In an effort to increase attendance, special care was also taken to attend to the needs and perspectives of this population. A systematic approach was utilized to build the necessary skills for faculty and staff to ensure long-term success of outreach and implementation strategies.

Brief Program Description

West Virginia’s long tradition of camping has led to outstanding camping programs full of traditions and opportunities. These camps serve over 1000 WV youth from across the state with the goals to develop leadership. The Older Member’s Conference camp (OMC) provides older 4 H members opportunities to engage around civic affairs to build decision-making skills while developing a deeper understanding and confidence to connect to their communities around these issues. This camp was targeted in an effort to build a more diverse and inclusive population of campers that were a truer reflection our youth's culture, including youth experiencing barriers to participation.

Summary

Youth thrive when given opportunities to participate in experiential programs to build skills in leadership, communication, relationships and teams, and dealing with conflict. Successful youth leaders are developed through youth/adult partnerships, meaningful community service to make real connections between needs and resources, learning and service, people and leadership, genuine responsibility and accountability, and leadership skill building, such as public speaking.

At the WVU Extension Older Member's Conference, over 160 youth from across the state were included in the camp with outstanding evaluations and implications for the youth to return their communities as engaged community leaders.

Evidence

Youth are not only greatly impacted by substance use in West Virginia, but they are also the victims of the poverty factors including rural isolation. West Virginia (WV) is the second most rural state, with 64 percent of its population living in communities of fewer than 2,500 residents and 45 of its 55 counties designated as rural by the U.S. Census. As a rural state with significant rates of poverty, there are multiple barriers to meaningful youth engagement including transportation, access to out of school time activities, and lack of opportunities to engage in teen leadership programs such as 4-H. In addition, faculty and staff may not know how to engage youth in programming, and youth may not feel comfortable engaging in traditional 4-H program designed as traditional 4-H Club models. Additionally, teens experiencing an impoverished, rural community are suspicious and leery of engagement in youth programmatic groups. Youth have self-reported their limited participation in 4-H and other youth development programs can be due to several themes: (a) lack of awareness about the 4-H program, (b) lack of affordable youth development programs in their communities, (c) conflicts between program schedules and parent work schedules, (d) prohibitive distances in traveling to program sites and lack of transportation, and (e) community members feelings of being excluded from youth development programming (felt exclusion). (Avent & Jayaratne, 2017).

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

NAME: Nila Cobb

TITLE: Extension Specialist Health Promotions and Youth At Risk – Extension Associate Professor

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

EDUCATION

INSTITUTION AND

LOCATION

DEGREE(S)

YEAR

CONFERRED

PROFESSIONAL FIELD

Marshall University

University of Kentucky

BSW

MSW

1996

1997

Social Work

Social Work

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

10/15 – Present Extension Specialist – Health Promotions and Youth at Risk

West Virginia University Extension Service

01/10 – Present Assistant Director – West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network

West Virginia University Extension Service

11//00 – 10/15 Extension Agent – Cabell County

West Virginia University Extension Service

01/98 – 11/00 Medical Social Worker, Women Veterans Coordinator

Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Huntington, WV

05/96 – 01/98 Medical Social Worker

St. Mary’s Hospital, Huntington, WV

03/86 – 05/96 Director, Cabell County 4-H Camp

Cabell County Commission

PUBLICATIONS:

Nichols, A., Cobb, N., & Harbert, L. (2008) The response of custodial care networks to the needs of custodial grandparents and their adult children: A framework based on four caregiving situations. Journal of Intergenerational Relations, 6(3), 321-338.

SELECTED PRESENTATIONS/TEACHING

Cobb, N., (2017) – Healthier 4-H Camps using WV Summer Foods Programs. Presented state-wide at 10 WVU Extension Service locations, May – June 2017.

Cobb, N., (2017) – Putting the “H” in Health: Helping Clients with Special Needs Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle. Prestera Mental Health Center., Huntington, WV, May 2017.

Cobb, N., Pruett, B., Swint, S. (2017) – Toxic Stress and Youth: Building a Path to Resilience. National Youth at Risk Conference, Savannah, GA, March, 2017.

Cobb, N., (2017) – Putting Health Rocks! into 4-H Camps. WV Association of Extension 4-H Agents, Parkersburg, WV April 2017.

Cobb, N., (2016) Raising the Bar for Children in Afterschool. National Association of Afterschool. Washington, DC. June, 2016.

Cobb, N., (2016) Teens as Health Ambassadors Teaching in Afterschool, National Youth Summit on Healthy Living, Chevy Chase, MD. February 2016.

Cobb, N., Smith, S., (2015) Integrating Extension Programs in Afterschool. 21st Century Afterschool Summer Institute, Dallas, TX, July 2015.

RECENT AND ONGOING SERVICE ACTIVITIES

2016 --present Member WVU Extension Service Central Committee for Promotion and Tenure 2016 – present Program Coordinator, WVU Extension Summer Foods.

2011--present Member WVU Extension Healthy Lifestyles Team

2008– present Assistant Director and Member of the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network 2015- present Committee Member, National Association of Extension 4-H Agents/Healthy Living

Task Force.

2016 – present Member, 21st Century Community Learning Centers Advisory Board, Charleston, WV.

ONGOING GRANTS

Cobb, N., “Strengthening Families of Children of Incarcerated Parents through 4-H Life Program. (June 1, 2016 – September 30, 2017). Role: PI

Cobb, N. “2018-2019 Health Rocks!,” (September 1, 2018 – August 31, 2019). Role: PI

Cobb, N. “OJJDP Mentoring Program” (March 1, 2019- February 28, 2020). Role: PI Cobb, N. "WV Families Project" (October 1, 2015 - August 31, 2019). Role: PI

HONORS

2004 Achievement of Service Award, National Association of Extension 4-H Agents. 2008 Distinguished Service Award, National Association of Extension 4-H Agents.

2013 Award of Excellence in Teamwork Award, West Virginia Association of Extension 4-H Agents.

2018 Meritorious Service Award, West Virginia Association of Extension 4-H Agents.

Presentation Year

March 2020

Start Date

3-9-2020 4:45 PM

End Date

3-9-2020 6:00 PM

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Mar 9th, 4:45 PM Mar 9th, 6:00 PM

Closing the Opportunity Gap for Youth in 4-H Camping Programs

Meet & Greet Poster Reception (Harborside)

West Virginia’s long tradition of camping has led to outstanding camping programs full of traditions and opportunities. These camps serve over 1000 WV youth from across the state with the goals to develop leadership. The Older Member’s Conference camp (OMC) provides older 4 H members opportunities to engage around civic affairs to build decision-making skills while developing a deeper understanding and confidence to connect to their communities around these issues. This camp was targeted in an effort to build a more diverse and inclusive population of campers that were a truer reflection our youth's culture, including youth experiencing barriers to participation.