Ohio: 4-H Grilling and Beyond: Cultivating Healthy Fathers, Kids, and Communities

Brief Site Description: 
This CYFAR Sustainable Community Project brings together three common community education genres--fatherhood education, nutrition education, and youth development education--into a single family life education program delivered to fathers and their early adolescent youth (age 11 to 13) in the context of food grilling. Grilling food is an activity enjoyed by many men and is growing in popularity among 4-H youth in Ohio (Ohio 4-H recently published its second grilling project book). Grilling can also be a family activity that involves conversation, learning and teaching, as well as nutrition. In collaboration with county-based Extension offices and a local fatherhood organization, this project seeks to help fathers increase their parenting abilities and motivations to provide guidance and nurturing to their children, to increase participant’s knowledge of nutritional health, and to introduce youth to 4-H programming and to provide opportunities for youth to develop life and workforce preparation skills (e.g., leadership, mastery, and self-determination). The project’s long-term outcomes include (1) enhancing father-adolescent relationships, (2) increasing healthy eating episodes and decreasing unhealthy eating episodes, and (3) increasing community involvement in changing patterns of food consumption. To accomplish these outcomes, the project incorporates innovative technology use, a sustainability plan, and a multi-level approach to community involvement. By bringing together fatherhood, nutrition, and youth development into a program with male-friendly activities, the project addresses society’s need for stronger families, healthier communities, and youth prepared for the future.
About multiple sites: 
Stark County and Portage County