This article was written by Suzy Geppert, former SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Partnerships Field Specialist.
The 4-H Teens as Teachers program has worked under the auspices and partnership of the 4-H Youth Development Department and SD 4-H Foundation since 2007. This program has grown and expanded through partnerships to reach teens from across South Dakota; emphasizing the importance of teens educating through advocacy and mentorship.
“I had the pleasure of recently visiting one of our new schools to the program. Philip High School applied to the program this year and 6 high school teens carried out lessons to elementary 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders,” states Suzy Geppert, 4-H Youth Partnerships Field Specialist. “These kids did exactly what was expected of them in the program and have seen great success. The program allows them the opportunity to become engrained within their local school and community, which is what we strive for in our communities across the state. We want youth to stay in South Dakota and become active community participants. This program allows them to do that. It is a lot of work and takes time and dedication; which is why it is so vital that partnerships with organizations like the SD 4-H Foundation, FCCLA, Coordinated School Health, and 21CCLC exist. These partnerships bring sustainability to programming efforts and create learning environments that engage youth of all ages in turn preparing them to become employable adults of the future.”
"I have been a 4-H leader and parent for 13 years, as well as a K-12 Guidance Counselor. The Teens as Teachers is not only a great opportunity for the teen students to grow as a person, but also an opportunity for the teen 4-Hers to utilize the public speaking skills and foods and nutrition knowledge they have learned through their involvement in 4-H." Pamela DeJong, Philip, SD
60 Teens from across South Dakota completed the program this year and were given scholarships at the Teens as Teacher’s banquet held at the Ramkota in Sioux Falls, SD in conjunction with the State FCCLA Convention. 4-H Program Director, Peter Nielson discussed the importance of Community Leadership to students in attendance while 4-H Foundation Director, Nancy Swanson, presented teens with their scholarships.
“Teens as Teacher’s is an awesome program for both the elementary students and the teens! The scholarship dollars are a great incentive as well is the self-satisfaction that is gained!” Brigitte Brucklacher, Philip High School Teacher and FCCLA Advisor.
Geppert says that last year the 4-H Teens as Teachers program reached 7500 youth across South Dakota. “We are hoping to see that kind of success again; however do acknowledge that weather has played a major role in school schedules this year.” Final program results will be issued in late May.
If you are interested in learning more about the 4-H T.E.A.M: Teens as Teachers program or becoming a partner or sponsor to the program contact Suzanne Geppert, 4-H Youth Partnerships Field Specialist at (605) 773-8120 or Audrey Rider, 4-H Youth Leadership Field Specialist at (605) 882-5140.