UMaine Extension offers free virtual workshops to enhance youth development, inclusion

Sun, 11/05/2023 - 8:00am

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 Nov. 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 Jan. 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 Feb. 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. 


About University of Maine Cooperative Extension: As a trusted resource for over 100 years, University of Maine Cooperative Extension has supported UMaine's land and sea grant public education role by conducting community-driven, research-based programs in every Maine county. UMaine Extension seeks to build thriving communities and grow the food-based economy, focusing on aspects from production and processing to nutrition, food safety and food security. Extension also conducts the most successful out-of-school youth educational program in Maine through 4-H which offers hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and civic engagement and creates a positive environment where participants are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles.
About the University of Maine: The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state's land grant, sea grant and space grant university, with a regional campus at the University of Maine at Machias. UMaine is located on Marsh Island in the homeland of the Penobscot Nation. UMaine Machias is located in the homeland of the Passamaquoddy Nation. As Maine's flagship public university, UMaine has a statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community service. UMaine is the state's public research university and a Carnegie R1 top-tier research institution. It attracts students from all 50 states and 86 countries. UMaine currently enrolls 11,571 undergraduate and graduate students, and UMaine Machias enrolls 763 undergraduates. Our students have opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research with world-class scholars. UMaine offers 77 bachelor's degrees and six undergraduate certificates, as well as more than 100 degree programs through which students can earn doctoral or master's degrees, professional master's degrees, and graduate certificates. UMaine Machias offers 18 associate and bachelor's degrees, and 14 undergraduate certificates. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campuswide to conserve energy, recycle and adhere to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine and UMaine Machias, visit and