4-H Teen Leaders Share Their Ag Innovators Experience

A group of young people posing for a photo.

Teens participated in the AIE 2020 Water Connects Us All Challenge

This year's 4-H Ag Innovator's Experience: Water Connects Us All Challenge engaged youth in hands-on activities to apply STEM skills to understand how natural ecosystems provide services that affect water quality. Working in teams, youth created models of engineered conservation practices and made recommendations to improve water quality in both rural and urban settings.


Youth from six states participated in the AIE with a goal for each state to train 1,000 students. Due to the challenges of COVID-19, the execution has looked a little different, but students have shared that the program is still making a big impact.


Corey Humble, Kansas AIE Teen Ambassador

"Overall I would say that it has been an honor, and a real privilege, to have been selected to instruct. I found that I learned more than I expected. Not only from my training, but also from teaching. I've gained many valuable lessons from this entire experience, and I would love to do it again. If there is one thing I would like people to take from this, it is that anybody regardless of their power or position can make a difference. This not only goes for conservation efforts but anything else you put your mind to."

Emily Durbala, Iowa AIE Teen Ambassador

"As a teen leader, I knew I was going to be great and have a great time. I really enjoy hanging out with younger kids, as I am a babysitter, but I also just loved to see their faces light up with inspiration and wonder while completing the projects. I believe that teaching a child how something works is important so they can go and teach others in their future. The youth of today are going to change the world. Our world is dying and it is up to the youth to help shape the world into a better one. I believe that teaching the kids about agriculture and its importance in the world can help them take action sooner and get them involved with it even more in their future."


4H Teen Leaders
During the training session in February, teen leaders were able to practice teaching local students.


Krish Nangia, Ilinois AIE Teen Ambassador

"Not only has the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience guided me to become a better leader and effectively mentor this challenge to others, but it has also taught me to understand how big of a problem some of these issues, such as water, are from an agricultural perspective. Sadly, though, many of us take water, a precious resource, for granted, so it is extremely important for youth to understand agriculture topics, such as the Water Connects Us All Challenge, because these problems cannot be resolved without working together as a team."

Erin Franzluebbers, Nebraska AIE Teen Ambassador

"The Ag Innovators Experience was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about how teenagers can make a difference in a child's life by teaching them valuable information about water. I enjoyed being able to learn different ways to teach youth about water and the 4-H program, along with completing the activities. One thing that surprised me was the number of students that were unaware of how vital our water source is to our agricultural community. I have always thought of Nebraska as an agricultural state, and I didn't realize that students in our school systems were unaware of this big idea."

Markus Baur, Missouri AIE Teen Ambassador

"A lot of youth today do not have the opportunity to understand just how big of an impact they can have on the world around them and with more and more kids living in larger urban areas the ability to see the impact just one person can have on their environment can be completely missed. With the Water Connects Us All Challenge, all kids have not only the ability to see the impact they make on the environment from an agricultural side but also what steps are being taken to address that today."

Teegin Crosthwait, Oklahoma AIE Teen Ambassador

"I will take the skills learned from the Ag Innovators Experience and use them to further teach about the water challenge as well as other agricultural topics to youth and community members of all ages. I will also use the skills learned through the challenges to further my education and obtain my degree in Agriculture Education to teach future students as well as colleagues."