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Source: National 4-H Council news release

During the month of October, 4-H is set to empower over 150,000 youth to be creators, not just consumers, of technology, through its 11th annual 4-H National Youth Science Day (4-H NYSD).

This initiative aims to inspire kids to take an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) topics through hands-on learning experiences - with this year's focus on computer science and coding. This year's challenge, Code Your Worldł is designed to make computer science (CS) accessible to educators and young people with little-to-no prior experience or exposure.

Estimates show that 65 percent of today's students entering grade school will be employed in jobs that don't exist yet. But in many communities across the U.S.-from rural areas to urban centers-kids don't have access to the tools or resources they need to learn computer science skills. And recent research shows that schools can't meet demand alone: nine out of ten parents want their kids to learn computer science in schools, but only one quarter of schools offer dedicated courses.

"Computer science skills are an essential form of literacy in the modern world. As technology continues to disrupt nearly every sector and industry, the importance of understanding computer science will only continue to grow," said Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO, National 4-H Council. "That's why it's so important that young people get exposure to computer science from an early age. Through 4-H NYSD, we're equipping kids with the skills they need to become the changemakers and leaders of tomorrow."

This year's challenge, Code Your World, is designed by Google and West Virginia University Extension Service, and consists of four activities that teach kids computer science skills through fun topics like digital animation, gaming and dance.

Each kit contains everything you need to complete the three-unplugged activities and one computer-based activity. The computer-based activity, called Animate a Name, allows kids to choose any name and bring it to life by making the letters spin, dance, change colors, talk and more. It is available to anyone online at: https://bit.ly/2pwN9IT.

"With Code Your World, we're tearing down the barriers that make computer science inaccessible to many young people across the country," said Jen Robertson-Honecker, Assistant Professor and STEM Specialist for 4-H Youth Programming at West Virginia University.

"For many educators and kids, computer science is an intimidating topic. People rarely know where to start, and access to technology can be a major issue. Our approach removes or dramatically reduces the technological barriers and makes it possible for anyone- regardless of their experience with computer science-to bring hands-on computer science to kids," said Robertson-Honecker.

4-H NYSD kicks off on October 1st, with events taking place throughout the month of October in classrooms, clubs, homes, and afterschool spaces across the country. All youth are invited to participate in 4-H NYSD. For information about how to get involved, visit www.4-h.org/nysd or www.shop4h.org to purchase the Code Your World kit. Follow Code Your World events around the country with #4HNYSD.

4-H NYSD 2018 was developed with support from our national partners: Google.org, BNY Mellon, Corteva AgriscienceTM, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, and HughesNet.