Virtual Academy
Healthy Kids Club
Healthy Cooking

Youth Nutrition & Wellness

There are a wide variety of youth programming options offered by the Nutrition team and 4-H team at Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Jefferson County. The overview below provides examples of our wellness-focused programming content. If you are a teacher or a parent in Jefferson County, these programming options may be available to you, in some cases at no cost! Please contact us for more information.

Overview of Programs:

From Seed to Salad!: The Seed to Salad program will connect youth to where their food comes from as they discover how to grow their own food. Although Seed to Salad is a gardening program, the underlying theme is youth decision-making and team work. From start to finish the youth are making decisions that will affect how successful their “Garden Party” will be. Through the process of planning, planting, and harvesting their own garden youth will see first-hand all the hard work that goes into growing their own food. The reason salad greens were chosen for this project is because they are quickly maturing vegetables that have an earlier harvest time than most other vegetables. So let’s get our youth out in the sunshine and their hands in the soil! 

Food Fun: Learn how to make a fruit and vegetable smoothie with a bicycle! Discover what is in that soft drink, fruit drink and glass of milk? Are we really what we eat? Let’s test our sense of taste. All this and much more in Food Fun. We will use the 4-H Choose Health: Food, Fun and Fitness curriculum for this program. This program must be at least six hours to complete. This program can be adapted to be offered virtually. 

Teen Cuisine: A weekly cooking club for grades 6 to 12 to help them increase their confidence, knowledge, and kitchen skills. By teaching teens how to make informed food and lifestyle choices, they develop important life skills to promote optimal health — both in the present and in the future.

Teen Health Ambassadors: After undergoing their own nutrition training, teens become peer-leaders by developing a social marketing and media campaign aimed at: Drinking fewer sugary beverages, eating more fruits and vegetables, and encouraging teens to be active.

Harvest of the Month: Nutrition Education promotes childhood health, growth, and intellectual development to enable all children to reach their full academic potential. Programming can take place virtually, in classrooms, at assemblies, in afterschool programs and with other community youth groups. Each workshop is designed specifically for the age group and grade level requested. Lessons are interactive and often include food demonstrations of featured vegetables and fruits (locally grown when possible!).

Up for the Challenge: Focuses on lifetime fitness and healthy decisions. In this 6-10 session program, youth will learn about all aspects of wellness and leading a healthy lifestyle. Session activities will range from determining how much sugar is in various beverages, making healthy snacks, and learning fitness activities that are fun and easy. Over the course of the program, youth will set a goal for a wellness challenge that they’d like to complete by the end of the program. This program can be adapted to be offered virtually.

4-H Yoga for Kids: a six – ten session healthy living program. This program will explore, teach and practice breathing techniques, poses, partner poses and team building activities. Youth will gain knowledge of how to increase endurance, balance, strength and flexibility. The goal is to equip youth to work towards achieving their optimal physical, social, and emotional well-being.

Kids in the Kitchen: a hands on nutrition/cooking curriculum appropriate for youth ages 6-15 in after school programs. Youth learn how to prepare simple, healthy foods that they can make for themselves and for other family members at home. There is a food safety practice included in each lesson. Group size limited to 12 youth is ideal to allow each youth to experience the cooking practice. Cooking utensils and supplies can be provided, however a large space with a sink is needed.

Junior Iron Chef: In this healthy cooking program, youth will develop a culinary team and compete in the annual Jefferson County 4-H Junior Iron Chef contest. The Junior Iron Chef contest is a team contest for youth ages 12-18 with each team consisting of 3-5 youth. Teams are judged on floor/kitchen skills, nutritious food choices, taste, plating/garnishing, and a short oral presentation. In this minimum 6 hour program, youth will learn all of these topics plus teamwork and communication skills in order to be a successful team. (Note: minimum 6 hours required for this program. This program is intended for middle and high school youth ages 12-18).

Culinary Creations: We can design this program especially for you – want to learn cake decorating skills, or maybe print your favorite photo with our edible printer and then eat it on top of your cake/cupcake, or maybe you want to really explore the world of 3D food printing. Whatever, works for you, we can make it work!

Get Experience through Mindfulness (GEM): a five hour program for youth 10 and up. This program leads youth through a series of activities that place an emphasis on stress management taught through practical and interactive mindfulness based activities to facilitate experiential learning.

Mindful Me!: Introduces youth ages 5-8 to basic concepts in mindfulness practices. The program promotes mindful practices that lead to improvements in managing one’s own goals, developing a sense of self, time management, stress management, emotional regulation, and mindful eating practices. Specific outcomes from youth participation in the curriculum include short-term (skill development and knowledge gain), mid-term (increased stress management, mindful eating, etc.), and long-term (physical, mental and social). This is a six hour program.

4-H Bicycle Safety program: a 6-hour program teaching youth all about bicycle safety using the 4-H research based bicycle curriculum. Youth will learn all about the parts of their bicycle and how to safely take care of their bicycle and conduct minor repairs. Youth will learn all about highway traffic safety regulations, rules and laws. And ride a bike around! We have 10 bikes available to use with the program.

Click to see our full list of programming.


Stephanie Graf
Deputy Executive Director
315-788-8450 ext. 251

Last updated March 17, 2023