Cultivating positive ethnic identity in southern California's youth through 4-H day camps
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One approach to cultivating positive ethnic identity is aiming to foster pride in cultural heritage through helping youth learn about their ethnic groups' histories and providing opportunities to participate in cultural forms such as music, theater, dance, and other artistic expression. During the summer of 2017, 4-H staff and academics partnered with the Mexican Consulate in San Bernardino, CA and designed and delivered a four-week day camp targeting youth ages five to eleven. The objective of the camp was to provide a space for the youth to explore Mexican history from the pre-Hispanic times through the Independence Era, as well as some customs and traditions of modern Mexico. All the activities were designed following the hands-on 4-H model, where the youth had the opportunity to learn-reflect-apply. Conducted in English and Spanish by community volunteers and college students with the support of 4-H staff, the program included a variety of activities to keep the youth interested and active, as art, games, crafts, movies, and even science activities framed around weekly cultural themes. The program was evaluated and its success was determined by a) community participation/response; b) partners' satisfaction; and c) ability to replicate the program in coming years. This article provides an overview of the program design and implementation, as well as lessons learned.
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