July 19, 2000 | By: Aimee D. Heald

More than 200 youth from 32 states gathered on the University of Maryland – College Park campus, on July 8 through 12 to "Lead the Way Across the Digital Divide."

Kentucky 4-Her, Johnathan Hensley of Mulenburg County attended the inaugural conference as Kentucky's 2000 National 4-H Youth Technology Leadership Team representative. Floyd County 4-Her, Lowell Brock; State Coordinator, Wendy Stivers; Muhlenburg County leader, Frank Sherrod; Floyd County Leader, Rita Brock and Extension Associate, Edwin Orange made up the rest of the Kentucky delegation.

4-H programs are embracing information technology and finding it essential to train leaders and students. Planning a technology conference was a natural step to further training and education in technology topics.

"This was a valuable conference for Kentucky 4-H," Wendy Stivers, 4-H Extension specialist and state technology team coordinator said. "It gave our delegates a chance to formulate a state plan of action for technology."

Delegates became a part of focus teams that addressed many different technology issues. The conference gave students and leaders the opportunity to network with other 4-H enthusiasts from around the United States.

Attendees benefitted from sharing ideas with other 4-Hers and attending workshops that taught them how to teach technology topics at home. They also formed state action plans, where participants developed tasks and goals to accomplish after the conference.

The educational goals of the meeting were to begin integrating technology into the 4-H Program; strengthen existing state 4-H technology teams; create new state 4-H technology teams, share information, programs, and ideas; increase skills in technology, teamwork, communication, facilitation, leadership, and organization in youth and adults; and to build camaraderie among 4-H members.

The Kentucky delegation's action plan states that 4-H will integrate more technology by seeking grants to help provide more hardware and software at state and county levels. Tracks will also be offered at senior conference. Students knowledgeable in Flash technology, a web site design tool, will teach the tracks. At the county level, 4-H will offer technology training to Senior Citizens, children/youth, and school personnel. They also plan to set up a small area in the county extension office (Muhlenberg/Floyd Counties) where teens can show youth/adults how to build and repair computers.

Leaders intend for the 4-H Technology Conference to be a yearly event. Contact your local Extension office for more details.


Wendy Stivers 859-257-5961