In the early 1950s, a young man from rural Colorado seized an opportunity to travel to Scotland. His leadership in Colorado 4-H continued after his return. The evolution became variety of programs under the umbrella of international 4-H youth exchange travel, with a 4-H representative. The program in Colorado has been sending senior Colorado 4-H’ers to international destinations for decades. Participants, ages 19-30, visit a foreign country for three to six months. The delegate lives and works with host families, gaining a unique perspective about another culture. Representatives have the opportunity to visit countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Western Europe. Upon return to the U.S., the delegate travels to Colorado communities to share experiences and broaden awareness.
For the past 30 years, Courtney Loflin has led the global citizenship program in Colorado. “She really has a vision and a heart for this program,” said Jean Glowacki, Interim State 4-H Program Director. “Her dedication is making a difference in the lives of so many in our community, our country, and our world.”
Outstanding Program Designation
Colorado was awarded the Outstanding Quality Program Award by the National 4-H International Exchange Program. “It’s because of Loflin’s accomplishments and passion that she brings to work every day that Colorado is receiving acknowledgement,” Glowacki added.
“It is incredible to see the experiences our 4-H’ers have during this exchange program opportunity,” said Ashley Stokes, Assistant Vice President for Engagement and Deputy Director of CSU Extension. “As we consider how society is becoming more globally oriented, experiences such as these help shape our future on a scale that is still unfolding before our eyes.”
The Colorado 4-H Youth Fund offers two full scholarships each year that covers program participation expenses for those traveling from Colorado (out-bound delegates). Incoming delegates stay two or three weeks, with each of several host families, during their three-month stay in Colorado. They share information about their country, culture and about the program with various community groups and travel throughout Colorado during their visit.
“We very much value the contributions of our volunteer host families who support our programs,” said Yoko Kawaguchi, President of States’ 4-H International Exchange Programs.
A national evaluation was recently developed that measured program impact on the community of host families, and specifically host siblings. The findings were overwhelmingly positive and indicated both high levels of satisfaction in their hosting experience and that families felt the program helped them develop skills in cross-cultural communication.
Globalization and Positive Youth Development Connections
“In our ever-globalizing and fast-changing world, international youth education programs like these we facilitate serve to unify the critical elements of positive youth development, cultural competency, and world understanding,” Kawaguchi noted.
An example of the longevity and effectiveness of the exchange program is Paul Hoshiko, an active member of the Weld County Kuner 4-H Club. Hoshiko capped off his 4-H experience by being selected as the second young man to represent Colorado in the exchange (known then as the International Farm Youth Exchange). One result of his experience, as a delegate to Scotland in 1952, was how he took the lead in the expansion of the Colorado 4-H Foundation to insure the future of the international youth exchange program in Colorado.
“The success of States’ 4-H International’s global citizenship programs would not be possible without the efforts and dedication from 4-H staff and volunteers in your state, especially state coordinator Courtney Loflin,” said Kawaguchi. Loflin was presented the Outstanding Quality Program Award to Colorado at the annual States’ 4-H Coordinators’ Conference in Seattle, Wash. Also acknowledged were the 42 years of Colorado’s uninterrupted partnership in the program, hosting over 3,100 delegates over that span of time.
“Her dedication to youth development and international exchange is tremendous and we are extremely grateful for her contributions,” Kawaguchi added.
The Colorado 4-H Foundation (formerly the 4-H Youth Fund) was established in 1952 to support two programs: the International Four-H Youth Exchange (IFYE), and Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF). The IFYE program was developed in 1948 as a post-war peace effort involving 4-H farm youth from around the world; Colorado’s participation in IFYE began in 1951. Colorado’s IFYE program is the strongest in the United States. Hoshiko (deceased) and his family have continued to be major donors and supporters of the Colorado 4-H Foundation.
For more information, visit: colorado4h.org/international/internationalprograms-overall.pdf