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Coronavirus COVID-19

COVID-19 Advisory: WSU Extension is working to keep our communities safe. All Extension programming is being provided virtually, postponed, or canceled. Effective March 16, 2020, WSU Extension county offices and WSU Research & Extension Centers will be closed to the public. We are available via email, phone, and webconference.

4-H Challenge: Adventure-based Experiential Education

Program Contact: Michelle Lain, 4-H Programs & Seth Wendzel, Experiential Education Coordinator
(509) 667-6540 •;

4-H Challenge Topics

Who Are We: Washington State University Chelan/Douglas County Extension is located at 400 Washington Street in Wenatchee, Washington. This location hosts an office of Washington State’s 4-H Positive Youth Development Experiential Education Model, called 4-H Challenge. The Experiential Education Coordinator, Seth Wendzel, and Experiential Assistant, Andrew Wainwright, work under Extension Director, Margaret Viebrock, to conduct community-based programming, training, and consultation for adults, youth, organizations and visitors.

Our Staff:

Seth W/ 8 Mile Camp group
Seth Wendzel (right) and Eco-Stewardship crew getting on trail for an Alpine Lakes Wilderness trip.

 4-H Experiential Education Coordinator: Seth Wendzel– Graduated Oregon State University with a degree in Adventure Education in 2012. He then spent 5 years at Seattle’s Camp Long  4-H Challenge Ropes Course. He has spent the last 3 years developing 4-H Challenge programs in Central Washington.

Andrew bringing stoke
Andrew Wainwirght finding stoke on another Eco-Stewardship outing.

 4-H Experiential Assistant: Andrew Wainwright– From the golden state of California, He has taught youth in wilderness settings between Mexico and Canada. He came to Extension to assist with the No Child Left Inside Grant and continues to be an asset in the development of programming. He is on a quest to make learning about science as fun as possible.


Our Philosophy: Youth need more than academic knowledge to be successful and productive members of society. They also need social and emotional skills, including communication, leadership, cooperation, respect, trust, self-confidence, conflict resolution, decision-making and problem-solving skills. In experiential learning, we use fun, stimulating, and engaging ways to help students develop these critical life skills through hands-on, student-centered activities.

Our Mission: 4-H Challenge develops self-directed, healthy, and knowledgeable youth through innovative,    research-based experiential programs resulting in engaged and productive community members.

Our Vision: The 4-H Challenge program builds the foundation that enables participant-centered, life-long learning. Through collaborative partnerships with teachers, students, schools, and agencies, we build the capacity for:

  • Creating fun, safe, stimulating, and engaging activities in unique supportive environments that push growth mindset edges through appropriate social, emotional, and intellectual risks.
  • Utilizing the latest research in youth development, including adventure-based learning, experiential education, and service-learning models to create engagements.
  • Accessing tools, trainings, resources (including high and low element ropes courses and portable equipment), and educational materials.
  • Strengthening communities through service learning, natural resource explorations, ropes courses, classroom lessons, and recreational activities as a vehicle to educational opportunities.

Our role is more of a capacity-building entity and less of an end service provider. It is our goal to provide local community members, agencies, and schools with training in all aspects of the educational models we employ, empowering them to utilize and adapt these models within their own groups and organizations. Through this process we:

  1. Provide staff training, mentoring, certification, direct support, and consultation.
  2. Provide quality programs designed to meet or exceed the highest industry standards.
  3. Provide oversight and evaluation of risk management relevant to program activities.

Our Audience: 4-H Challenge collaborates with any school or agency that is interested in building life skills through experiential education activities. Traditionally, our largest use has been from schools and other groups that serve low-income, at-risk, under-achieving youth.

4-H Youth Development Spectrum
4-H Programming falls between recreation and therapy.

Our Purpose: There are many different kinds of adventure–based experiential education programs and venues for conducting activities. Although on the surface there are similarities between activities, there is a wide spectrum of purposes and philosophies in the adventure-based education field. Programs can range anywhere from recreational type activities on one end of the spectrum to therapy driven activities on the other.

Washington State University