Photo courtesy University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

STATE — The University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H Northeast Regional Volunteer Connection is offering a series of virtual interactive workshops aimed at empowering volunteers and leaders to create inclusive and supportive environments for youth. The free workshops, to be held from November to April via Zoom, will cover a range of topics, including LGBTQ+ inclusion, positive communication, mental wellness, and building strong relationships in animal science programs.

•  The first workshop, “Building Strong 4-H Clubs,” will be held on November 8 via Zoom. The session will provide volunteers with valuable insights and strategies to develop and strengthen their 4-H clubs. Participants will have the opportunity to share their successes, learn from other volunteers, and gain access to resources that will support their club development efforts.

•  On January 10, 4-H will host an interactive workshop titled “Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusive Programs.” The session aims to increase fluency with LGBTQ+ inclusive concepts and terminology while providing practical approaches for creating affirming and supportive spaces for youth of all genders and sexual identities.

•  The third workshop, “Be a Positive Communicator,” will be held on February 13. Participants will learn effective communication strategies to manage difficult situations or conflicts with others. The workshop will explore constructive responses and conciliatory gestures that can be used to de-escalate conflicts and foster positive relationship-building and understanding.

•  On March 12, 4-H will host “Finding Space for Mental Wellness in Every Program.” The session will focus on best practices for ensuring safety and belonging for all members, with a particular emphasis on mental wellness. Participants will gain insights into the 4-H Healthy Living Mental Wellness program, including youth needs, programmatic offerings, resources, and strategies to support mental wellness in any program.

•  The final workshop in the series, “Animal Science — Strong Relationships & Sportsmanship,” will take place on April 9. The session will explore the qualities of strong 4-H clubs within the context of animal science programs. Animal science projects provide authentic opportunities for youth to practice sportsmanship through competitive events and activities. Volunteers will learn strategies for supporting youth and adults in the practice of good sportsmanship — being fair, respectful, and gracious.

The workshops are part of 4-H’s ongoing commitment to providing quality youth development programs that foster inclusivity, personal growth, and positive relationships. By equipping volunteers and leaders with the necessary tools and knowledge, 4-H aims to create a supportive and empowering environment for all youth.

All workshops are free and will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. Registration is required.

To register for any of the workshops or to learn more about 4-H’s programs and initiatives, visit the program webpage. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Jen Lobley,; 207.255.3345.

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