Past and present members of 4-H know the value of the program. The services of these programs are often delivered through Extension at land-grant universities in the U.S., and there are independent programs in more than 50 countries. Romania is about to get its own 4-H program,, thanks to an investment in time and energy by a Montana State University Extension agent.
Ben Frentsos, who is the 4-H and youth development agent for Flathead County, Mont., has been chosen by the National 4-H Council to help expand into Romania. He left for Romania in December and will be in-country through 2021.
Frentsos is no stranger to Romania, having spent nine years there in the Peace Corps teaching English. He and his family will be based in Cluj-Napoca, the country’s second-largest city. While there he will create a sustainable and scalable pilot Positive Youth Development program to serve both rural and urban communities.
In the MSU release about his work, Frentsos pointed out that there is a strong need, and interest, in out-of-school programs, especially in rural areas in Romania. With 4-H, youth can explore their passion for agriculture and other programs, build positive relationships with adults and develop resiliency. He also said he has seen firsthand how those programs benefit Montanan children.
“From my experience, youth in Romania are not so dissimilar from youth in Montana,” Frentsos said. “You find the same kinds of interests, the same spark for diving head-first into projects they’re passionate about. What is lacking in Romania is opportunity.”
He wants to explore projects relating to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); and youth agriculture, healthy lifestyles and citizenship. MSU Extension’s 4-H efforts in Romania are supported by private investments and the National 4-H Council. Frentsos’ pilot program will explore meaningful connections back to MSU and share best practices with other 4-H programs in the state.
Want to know more? Reach out to Frentsos at firstname.lastname@example.org.