4-H Youth Development
Bridging The Gap Between Old and Young
On May 27th, 2017, the 4-H Program hosted their May E2 Workshop of Empowering and Engaging Youth. This workshop focused on the bridging the gap between old and young (inafa’maolek). The 4-H program had the honor of introducing Mr. Dan Narcis to empower and connect with the youth. Mr. Dan Narcis a master weaver and master fisherman living on the island of Guam since he was in grade school is 4-H’s ideal candidate in assisting with the sustainability of cultural practices and knowledge between elders and youth.
The first activities introduced Mr. Dan Narcis introduced how to use a fishing net. Mr. Narcis explained thoroughly the importance using a finishing net. The youth learned that by using the fishing net a person can single handedly catch an abundance of fish in a safe and quick manner. Upon learning the traditional ways of learning how to cast a fishing net the students learned the different cultural ways of learning how to catch fish. The students were able to
learn the Chamorro and the Hawaiian way of casting a fishing net. When the students learn activities such as these they engage in many stem skills. The students learn about the importance of keeping traditional practices alive, mathematical measurements through the eye of the nets, engineering based of the unique designs of the net, as well as technological structure on how to cast out the net.
Traditional Chamorro Cooking
After the students had participated in learning about casting a fishing net they learned more about traditional Chamorro cooking. Mr. Dan Narcis taught the students how to fry different Chamorro fish cuisines. The students also learned how to make Fish Kelaguen with fresh ingredients. This activity allowed the students to create traditional Chamorro dishes. Along with the learning about Chamorro history and cultural food practices. By teaching the youth how to make traditional foods, not only can we create a connection between the old and new foods, but we are able to build bonding experiences between the youth and their elders. 4-H aims to teach youth more on healthy living and by creating opportunities such as this youth today can continue traditional practices that can be passed down through generations. In many places, traditional foods bring different cultures together. By teaching youth how to make their traditional dishes they become aware of their culture and are able to share that part of who they are with others as well as continue sharing it within their family.
Mr. Dan Narcis ended our workshop by teaching the students how to weave a fishing basket. Having been all around the Micronesia islands Mr. Narcis has seen numerous styles of weaving. From his experience, he prefers the Chamorro fishing basket because it is one of the strongest styles of weaving he has ever seen and used. During this part of the activity the students learned about the different styles of weaving around the islands along with the importance of continuing our traditional practices.
The 4-H Program aims to empower youth through workshops that will provide them with skills that they can use as they grow into leaders in the community. 4-H Guam recognizes the extent of their outreach in Micronesia. Cultural practices are an important part of living on Guam because it is a melting pot for the many different islands of Micronesia that live here. By hosting workshops that build on the upkeep of traditional practices, the 4-H program empowers youth to become enriched and aware of their own cultures, as well as the cultures for the neighboring islands of Guam. Not only do these activities complement our island’s diverse community but it weaves our islands together. As we learn more about each other’s cultures, we introduce new ideas to one another, as well as, connecting with other common practices. Through workshops that focus on culture enrichment the 4-H Program can influence cultural practices into higher education and analyze Micronesian youth perception in the Western School System. Teaching the students how to live off the land and ocean, 4-H prepares them with the necessary survival skills necessary for island sustainability. For islands like Guam that depend mostly on shipments to bring food to the island, equipping the youth with skills such as fishing and traditional cooking, they not only continue their cultural practices but become with skills necessary for survival. 4-H aims to elevate these students with opportunities to grow as leaders in the community, as responsible citizens within their culture and lastly as members of 4-H.