Kaydn Ence is being honored as a Champion of Change for his efforts in 4-H and Future Farmers of America.
When a large hi-tech company decided not to expand its operations in Saint George, Utah, I was determined to find out why. I learned the decision was largely due in part to the lack of people with technological skills that were needed to fill over 300 jobs. Desiring a positive outcome for future opportunities, I decided to act by working to provide technology education for the next generation of the workforce.
I established 4-H robotics clubs across my county and worked with my local 4-H office, school system, and university to promote the clubs. In 2012, I raised over $2,000 through grants, fundraising, and local sponsorships in order to buy LEGO NXT robotics kits. I also saved money by building the regulation robotics tables using the woodworking skills I learned through 4-H. I believe that if youth get hands-on experience at a young age programming and building autonomous robots, then through these clubs they’ll become interested in technology and more prepared to meet the demands for 21st century careers in computer programming, engineering, and technology.
In just a year after starting the program, I have organized nine robotics clubs with over 100 total members. The youth participating in this robotics club are learning valuable skills that will carry over to future studies and careers in related fields. Local businesses have even pledged their support of the program, providing robotics kits, physical and monetary assistance, and locations for club meetings.
I have organized robotics workshops and summer camps to promote the program. 4-H in Saint George looks forward to continued growth and success in educating the future generation of technology leaders and innovators.
Kaydn Ence is a high school junior from Saint George, Utah.