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September 7, 2011
By Jim Sloan
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension's Washoe County 4-H Youth Development programs have been awarded the Truckee Meadows Tomorrow Silver Star award for 2011.
Sarah Chvilicek, the coordinator for 4-H in Washoe County, said the award is a reflection of the hard work of nine Cooperative Extension staff members and the many volunteers who help bring the programs to county youth. 4-H Youth Development programs are delivered through a variety of clubs, camps, events, clinics and after-school programs throughout Washoe County.
Chvilicek said she hoped the award would shine a light on the many programs Cooperative Extension conducts in Nevada's urban areas. Projects involve such things as rocketry, GPS mapping, DNA analysis, alternative energy and computer science.
"Most people think of 4-H as something that only happens in rural areas, but each year thousands of children and young adults in Reno, Sparks and Las Vegas join our clubs or take our classes," Chvilicek said.
Cooperative Extension Dean and Director Karen Hinton said that in 2010, 4-H youth programs in Washoe County reached more than 15,500 youth aged 5 to 19, including various school enrichment programs. 4-H programs teach science, technology, engineering, math, civic engagement and other life skills using research-based curricula.
"Studies have shown that children involved in 4-H are more likely to get better grades in school, to seek out science classes, to see themselves going to college, and to contribute positively in their communities," Hinton said.
Dozens of 4-H clubs in Washoe County are facilitated by 64 trained volunteers, with each volunteer providing an average of 10 hour per month. Based on the national per-hour value of volunteer time at $20.85, these volunteers contributed more than $160,000 last year to educational programs in Washoe County. In addition, more than 1,200 adult volunteers received training in 4-H youth development.
The 4-H program is conducted under the auspices of the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Cooperative Extension is the outreach college that extends knowledge from the University of Nevada - and other land-grant universities - to local communities to address critical needs. UNCE is a federal-state-county partnership with 19 statewide offices. Its more than 200 personnel - with the help of volunteers - conduct programs in agriculture; children, youth and families; community development; health and nutrition; horticulture; and natural resources.
The 4-H program's Silver Star award will be presented at a special forum from 5:15 to 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at KNPB Channel 5 Public Broadcasting.