Virtual 4-H Club Offers Iowa Youth Digital Storytelling Experience

AMES, Iowa – Future animators and filmmakers can build their digital storytelling skills through Studio 4-H. This new 4-H club is virtual: it exists online and is open to Iowa youth throughout the state.

Iowa Studio 4-HStudio 4-H provides the opportunity for young Iowans, no matter where they live, to learn from professionals in cinematography, photography, audio production, graphic design and digital storytelling media, said Lisa Berkland, a 4-H youth development specialist with Iowa State University Extension and one of the club’s adult mentors.
“We have partnerships with Adobe Youth Voices, an international digital storytelling project, and Grasshorse Inc., an Iowa-based company that does animation work throughout the United States,” Berkland said. Mentors from Grasshorse and ISU Extension Communications and External Relations will work with the club.
Studio 4-H is a forum where young people can unleash their creativity, share their voice and be heard, Berkland said. Club members have access to photo and video editing software on the website and can post their work on their virtual “wall” for their mentors and other 4-H’ers to review and comment upon. Like other 4-H clubs, members set their own learning goals and mentors help them achieve those goals.
Youth may sign up now for Studio 4-H. Eligible youth must be in grades 4-12 and be 4-H members in their county, Berkland said. “If you’re not already a 4-H’er, that’s OK. Sign up for Studio 4-H online and we will help you get enrolled in 4-H through your county. It’s easy.”
Studio 4-H members may be enrolled in a local 4-H club as well or they may be enrolled only in Studio 4-H. In either case, their parents must give their permission for the youth to participate in the virtual club.
“We encourage parents to get online with their kids right away and see what they can do through Studio 4-H,” Berkland said. “Parents of Studio 4-H’ers have an important role. They can provide supportive, constructive feedback on the digital works their children create. They also can help their children connect to local 4-H opportunities and events in their county.”
For more information and to join Studio 4-H, go to