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Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Staff Participate in Massachusetts 4-H Career Exploration Zoom Series

Series links professionals with youth development program. 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts 4-H programming had to take on a different look – going virtual. Angelica Paredes, a veteran UMass 4-H Extension Educator for 23 years, realized the need for innovative learning opportunities to counteract the unprecedented challenges to youth caused by social distancing protocols. 

By driving key skills development, a focus of 4-H programs, the series channeled 4-H’s mission to empower young people to reach their full potential and enable them to lead the change for both their personal futures and their communities. Series participants had an opportunity to learn about various careers including the required training and the day-to-day activities of the professions.  In addition, the youth never ceased to impress the presenters with their thoughtful questions and enthusiastic energy. 

Angelica Paredes said, “Feedback has been wonderful. Parents and youth report they are researching opportunities (such as Peace Corps) or learning how their passions (animals, sciences, etc.) can merge into one career.”

Several Cape Cod Cooperative Extension agents were among the professionals who joined the youth and adults to share information about their professions. Participants got a glimpse into the diverse work of the Cooperative Extension agents ranging from aquaculture research; food safety education; Americorps service; flood-related management and coastal resiliency; and entomology. 

The series was a success and the youth enjoyed the virtual exchange experience. One of the participants informed the group that he plans to pursue Entomology because of the insect presentation from Larry Dapsis, Barnstable County’s Entomologist.  

“Extension was excited to be a part of this initiative as we believe that transformational change for youth can be achieved through programs like the 4-H Career Exploration Series, where professionals from all sectors can come together to inspire the lives of young people,” said Sandi Shepherd-Gay, the 4-H Extension Educator for Cape Cod Cooperative Extension.


Massachusetts 4-H is part of the University of Massachusetts Extension Programming. The 4-H program is open to youth ages 5-18 throughout Massachusetts. The 4-H Youth Development Program offers many projects, activities, and programs where young people can explore, learn, and grow. 4-H programs can take place in a variety of locations. These include community clubs, 4-H clubs or groups at community centers, in schools, and in after-school programs. Massachusetts 4-H is part of the University of Massachusetts Extension System. Founded in 1908, 4-H is the largest youth development program in the country reaching more than 27,000 youth in Massachusetts and 6 million young people throughout the country. 


Cape Cod Cooperative Extension is the education department for Barnstable County. Educational programs focus on agriculture, marine resources, horticulture, aquaculture, natural resources, water quality, recycling, household hazardous waste, nutrition, food safety, youth development, and environmental education issues facing the county. Extension programs are conducted in Barnstable County in cooperation with the staff at the University of Massachusetts, and The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution–Sea Grant program.