Outreach Leadership Institute (OLI) Part IV

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Event IV

Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H Outreach Program

Oregon 4-H Outreach Leadership Institute (OLI)

Preparing Our Young Leaders for the Future

Created by Mario Magaña Álvarez

 An Introduction

Oregon's underserved youth significantly lag behind their peers in academic achievement. Latinos in particular have an abnormally high dropout rate compared to their white peers. There are numerous reasons for the achievement gap. Several contributing factors identified by literature and Oregon 4-H staff:

  • Understanding K-12 and higher educational systems
  • Information on future career options
  • Support network to maintain a high grade point average (GPA)
  • Prior preparation for the college application process
  •  Parents with higher educational attainment
  • Opportunities to participate in educational after school activities  (after school programs / summer camps / conferences)
  • Financial resources for extracurricular activities
  • Opportunities to participate in leadership roles in their schools and communities
  • Limited access to educators, leaders, role models, and mentors
  • Lack of culturally diverse role models, teachers, counselors, and mentors in K-12 school and postsecondary education
  • Limited government efforts and commitment for closing the achievement gap
  • Limited government and organizational comprehension on closing the achievement gap
  • Lack of viable systems connecting students to precollege programs, community colleges, and universities
  • Hard funding to support long-term initiatives that address the achievement gap

Purpose of 4-H OLI:

The Oregon 4-H Outreach Leadership Institute (4-H OLI) was created and designed using a role model philosophy and with an appropriate underserved populations mind to address the limitations mentioned above. The Oregon 4-H OLI project seeks to resolve these issues by identifying, engaging, informing, teaching, and motivating high school students to participate in a series of events. At these events students will become informed about the postsecondary educational system; develop the skills, confidence, and the motivation needed to earn good grades and finish high school. They will acquire necessary information and skills to apply to postsecondary educational institutions, as well as seek scholarships and realize how to become a professional and contributing member of society. Students involved with the project will participate in hands-on educational workshops, leadership activities, presentations, and meet college students and professional role models from diverse cultural backgrounds. Most importantly, participants will have the opportunity to meet college students and professionals from a range of academic backgrounds so they can see themselves as college students and young professionals one day.

Target Audience for 4-H OLI:

The target audiences of the 4-H OLI project are high school students finishing 9th to 12th grades from underserved populations in Oregon. The students will have expressed interest in learning about colleges, developing leadership skills and/or serving as camp counselors at the Oregon State University 4-H International Summer Camps. We are reaching students from diverse ethnic groups including Latinos, Native Americans, African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Middle Eastern, and Caucasians from rural communities or first generation going to college.

Program Components of 4-H OLI:

The Oregon 4-H OLI will include a series of four events designed specifically for high school underserved youth from different cultural backgrounds. Its main objectives are:

  • Help youth understand the education system; encourage them to pursue a postsecondary education and a professional career
  • Help youth develop leadership skills to serve as camp counselors/leaders/role models for younger youth at the 4-H International Summer Camps and
  • Empower them to participate in leadership roles in their communities and schools

The Oregon 4-H OLI will be divided in four parts and will take place in four different events throughout the year: College Preparation, Career Exploration, Leadership Development and Community Service.

Event IV 

Serving as Camp Counselor/Leader:

This is the culmination of the process, and most critical part of the 4-H OLI project in regards to youth development. Humans feel welcome, valuable, and important when they are put in leadership positions because it increases their self-esteem and confidence. As a result of this experience as leaders, students will change their behavior from an average person to a leader or role model attitude. This experience embeds a permanent leader/role model characteristic and develops skill sets and behaviors that students will utilize throughout their lives. Students will not only change their behavior during camp but also at home, school, and in their community. Most students who are in leadership positions know that they are leaders. They know that the people in their community have different set of expectations from them. As a result, they will act and behave as leaders and role models beyond the average person. This will be achieved by the different workshops, presentations, role models and leadership activities were the participants would develop these skills.

During this event, students will serve as Camp Counselors/Leaders at the 4-H International Summer Camps where they will be responsible to lead, supervise and take care of 4-6 children, for 24 hours for four to five days.

Camp Counselors