Teen As Teachers Develops Leadership Skills

Story by: Janet Nagele,  Extension Faculty, 4-H

This past year a partnership between two OSU Extension programs, 4-H Youth Development and SNAP-Ed, led to an exciting new program that combined cooking and leadership skills. The three-part program was specially designed for Latino/a/x youth, but could apply to any teenager. Teens first participate in Teen Chefs where they learned cooking skills, nutrition, and kitchen safety.

Teens then had the opportunity to join Teens As Teachers where they learned and practiced leadership and teaching skills, and develop their confidence. The third part was Community Service where teens taught elementary youth cooking skills.

Thirty-seven teens have thus far participated in the program, teaching seventy-six elementary youth. The program is offered in both English and Spanish, and recipes are selected based on cultural preferences. Teens reported that they learned a number of leadership skills, and elementary youth reported that they much preferred being taught by teens as opposed to adults.

This comment was not a surprise, as research shows that peer teaching makes learning more enjoyable. Both teens and elementary youth said they loved cooking and eating what they cooked. This is no small success, as all the recipes were healthy alternatives (reduced sugar and fat). Teen teachers said they would highly recommend the program to other teens. The program was made possible through a 4-H Foundation Grant and will continue through Spring of 2023.

For more information contact Janet Nagele or Elena Illescas.