Mathew Murphy, a senior at Meridian’s Rocky Mountain High School, signed up to be a 4-H Teen Advocate for Food Smart Families because, as the son of both a mom and dad in the military, he knows “too many friends with poor eating habits because of military-related stress.”
Also, being left at home with at least one parent deployed and the other parent often at work, “military teens are often left on their own for meals — too often candy bars or fast foods.”
Murphy was among 19 youth ages 13 to 17 who completed training to be 4-H Teen Advocates for Food Smart Families. Each teen completed 14 hours of intensive sessions on University of Idaho’s Moscow campus during the annual Idaho 4-H Teen Conference, which offers leadership, life-skills and educational programs to more than 200 Idaho teens every summer.
Gretchen Hansten from Jerome signed on to be a Teen Advocate, “because I want to be a doctor. I have volunteered in the medical field. And I hope that this 4-H program will allow me to reach more people about healthier living.”
Training was conducted by UI Extension’s Grace Wittman, Cassia County and Maureen Toomey, Caldwell, UI 4-H Extension associate.
“Our 4-H efforts always include a health focus, but this is the first program to integrate Idaho’s 4-H youth and staff into other healthy living programs like Eat Smart Idaho,” Toomey said. “Other partners include community groups — youth clubs, parks and recreation departments and food banks. Teen Advocates also will share their knowledge with children of Idaho’s migrant workers.
Caldwell’s Lorena Rivera teaches healthy living in her Farmway Village 4-H club, where she also teaches robotics and dance.
“4-H has taught me not to be afraid of public speaking, and it has given me leadership experience teaching younger 4-Hers in my club,” she said.
Anyone interested in knowing more about 4-H Teen Advocates for Food Smart Families can contact Maureen Toomey at firstname.lastname@example.org.