For millions of people throughout the USA 4-H offers memories and lessons. It models leadership with the actions of adults getting involved to teach and lead children and teens. Although most popular in rural areas, 4-H has a variety of projects. From the motto “To make the best better” a strive for excellence is set.
Some will choose livestock projects – popular projects include rabbits, poultry, pigs, sheep and cattle. For those that can’t take livestock directly there’s many other projects. Dogs, veterinary science, geology, crafts, mechanics, sewing, gardening, cooking and a wide range of other projects are available to youth wanting to learn and compete in county and state fairs.
Typically 4-H doesn’t have dues associated with it, and the bold green clover is distinctive. A study from Tufts University showed 4-H members are twice as likely to get better school grades and plan to go to college. They’re also 25% more likely to positively contribute to family and community, and 41% less likely to engage in risky behaviors. Because a network of mentors and activities keep kids busy, it’s more important today than ever to keep 4-H alive.
Often run in conjunction with the extension service, budget cuts have hit the organization. Over a half million volunteers keep the organization moving, and 4-H teaches hands on not only in science and homemaking skills needed more all the time, but also in valuable citizenship and leader skills.
From aerospace to agriculture and health to nutrition, 4-H makes leaders. It presents safety programs not only in food but off road vehicles, equipment and other safety issues. Visual arts, wind energy, outdoor activities and a host of other projects prepare youth for the “real world”. It allows youth to explore interests that extend far beyond a field of corn or a beef cow.
4-H camp, judging and other activities teach critical thinking and formulating thoughts to support a point of view. This might be facing four hogs or a class of dairy heifers but the actions and thought process being taught goes far beyond livestock.
This is a great organization that is well worth the funds to participate. There is a cost to the books and such, and donations are always welcome to support the work of 4-H.
For many the 4-H pledge is much more than something to recite at meetings.
“I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.” This pledge has been recited since 1927, unchanged except for the last three words added in 1973.
For many youth in many areas – take a look at 4-H. It builds lives and memories.