Curriculum: A National 4-H Service Learning Series for Teens

By on Friday, January 17, 2014

Situation: In early 2005, the 4-H Cooperative Curriculum System was facing a crisis. A design team had fallen more than a year behind schedule, and they now needed to produce a new service learning curriculum for teens in only five months. Orders for the finished books were already in-hand from all over the country, and there were no other curricula available at a national level designed specifically for service learning using the 4-H experiential learning model.

Solution: They hired Steppingstone LLC to manage the project, write curricula, design experiential learning activities, oversee pilot testing, and design the printed curriculum and a website. Steppingstone LLC’s staff edited and dramatically expanded the drafts created by the original design team, wrote a new helper’s guide for teachers and adult volunteers, correlated the curriculum with national learning standards, pilot-tested the activities at locations around the United States, shepherded the product through a national certification process, created engaging photographs, and graphically designed three printed books, a CD with support materials, and a website.

Results: The curriculum was certified for national distribution and the project was completed on time. The National 4-H Curriculum Jury evaluating the curriculum drafts commented, “Impressive combination of activities that allow community involvement, project development, reflection via journaling and group activities, and application of project and evaluation.”

Jurors said the curriculum “[provides] ways for leader/teacher to be involved in the learning process are clearly evident. Good guides for volunteer leader/ teacher. Includes a variety of methods for engaging youth using different learning styles. [Offers] learning about the real world.”

Approximately 309,736 youth engaged in service projects through 4-H in 2005, a more than 20% increase over the number (255,442) involved in 2003. The curriculum was also nominated for Product of the Year in 2006 for the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Awards. Thanks to this curriculum, thousands of teens today ages 13-18 are conducting their own service projects and realizing the impact they can have on the world and its future. The materials have been featured in a national educational magazine and profiled in newsletters read by the service learning community.

In 2018, the curriculum materials remain in use and continue to inspire young people to do more to help their communities. The number of 4-H youth involved in service learning continues to climb, with numbers reaching 267,672 in 2016 (USDA REEIS report based on es-237 data).

Steppingstone LLC Services Provided: Graphic design, photography, curriculum design, website design, writing, editing, proofreading, project management, subject matter expertise, publicity support

Client: National 4-H Cooperative Curriculum System (N4HCCS)












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