April 29, 2021 | By: Katie Pratt
Lexington, Ky.

While COVID-19 has altered the traditional 4-H international program, Kentucky 4-H is still finding ways to educate young people about different nations and cultures.  

“We are really implementing the idea that you do not have to travel to have a global mindset, and we are focusing on helping youth develop cultural competencies from home,” said Rachel Noble, 4-H youth development specialist and Kentucky 4-H International Program coordinator in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.  

On April 29 and May 5, Kentucky 4-H will celebrate Japanese Golden Week through virtual events in partnership with States’ 4-H International Exchange Programs, Western Michigan University and Michigan 4-H. Japanese Golden Week contains four of Japan’s 15 national holidays and is a time of rest and relaxation for many Japanese families 

“We will be sharing traditional celebrations and history surrounding Golden Week,” Noble said. “The idea is to showcase Japanese culture and encourage cultural awareness and understanding.”  

4-H Golden Week programs begin at 7 p.m. ET each day and last around 1.5 hours. The programs on May 5 will focus on Children’s Day, a Japanese holiday that celebrates children’s personalities and happiness. This is the second year that Kentucky 4-H and Michigan 4-H have partnered to host this event. It was very successful in 2020 with youth and families from five states participating. 

The free, virtual program is open to 4-H’ers and their families across the United States. Those interested in participating in the Golden Week celebrations should register online at https://uky.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3xsYW2ycE1D4RsW or by emailing Noble at rachel.noble@uky.edu 

Young people also have the option to learn more about different cultures through an online curriculum created by Kentucky 4-H in partnership with States’ 4-H International Exchange Programs, UK Office of China Initiatives, UK Department of Community and Leadership Development, Texas 4-H, Taiwan 4-H and Kentucky 4-H agents, members and alumni.  

The curriculum allows youth to explore countries and cultures around the world through educational materials, events and activities. Countries and regions included in the program are Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Taiwan and Scandinavian countries. Interested individuals can find more information at https://4-h.ca.uky.edu/content/global-education 

Kentucky 4-H and its partners also hosted a successful Japanese Girls Day virtual series in February and March. During the four-part series, organizers focused on a different aspect of Japanese culture and the traditional holiday celebration including songs, origami and food. The program reached nearly 200 families from 30 different states. 

Through these programs, Kentucky 4-H is helping young people identify their role in our global society, understand the interdependence of other cultures and countries, appreciate the accomplishments of other cultures, and cooperatively work with others from other cultures,” Noble said.  


Rachel Noble, rachel.noble@uky.edu

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