Beginning in October, Ohio middle- and high school-aged youth will have the opportunity to track their Ohio 4-H youth development participation and earn digital badges in the skills needed to be successful in the future.
The Ohio 4-H Pathways to the Future initiative partnered with Suitable to design BuckeyeNext, an app in which young people earn points for activities, event attendance, and accomplishments during their 4-H career. Built like a game, youth can easily identify the opportunities available through Ohio 4-H, organize their categories of participation, and track their cumulative progress in real time.
“BuckeyeNext lets youth keep track of their accomplishments in real time,” said Margo Overholt-Seckel, program manager for Ohio 4-H Workforce Development and Pathways. “It provides insight about how 4-H experiences align with various skills that employers are seeking in their future workforce.”
Youth who participate will create a digital portfolio and transcript that demonstrate how their abilities align with the eight career readiness competencies identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
“BuckeyeNext is the result of hard work and hours of thinking outside the box to make recordkeeping easier and provide certifications for our members,” said Jessica Adams, 4-H educator in Miami County. “Our hard work paid off when we were announced as one of three Suitable Innovator Award recipients.”
Ohio 4-H youth from 20 counties piloted the platform during the summer at the Ohio 4-H Spark EXPO to track their learning experiences.
“The BuckeyeNext app is very easy and simple to use. It helps with 4-H records because you can look back and remember what all you’ve done, and the competition part pushes you to do more!” said Sophia Preston, a Fairfield County 4-H member.