New 4-H Year Begins in October
October is a month of change in many ways. The fall has begun, weather is cooling down, the leaves are changing, and 4-H is not immune to its influence. October also marks the beginning of the new 4-H year and the opening of member enrollment. Where can youth and parents start if they are interested in enrolling in 4-H and want to learn more about what 4-H has to offer? The following are some questions and answers that can help any prospective members or parents learn more about America’s largest youth development organization.
What is 4-H?
4-H is one of America’s oldest and largest youth development organizations. It is a volunteer-led, informal education program administered through local county extension offices, state land-grant universities and the USDA. It features nearly 6 million members, rural, suburban, AND urban, throughout all 50 states and some foreign countries.
What does 4-H offer?
- Leadership opportunities for youths at the local and state level.
- Recognition for work and achievement through fairs, scholarships, awards, and more.
- Opportunity to participate in county, regional, state, and national events, including camps, educational programing, leadership positions, and conferences.
- Decision-making skills and opportunities through participation in club meetings, community service, and project work.
What makes 4-H different from other youth development organizations?
- Self-determination — Youth decide what projects they want to participate in, as well as how their clubs operate and support members and the community they live in. 4-H is the only youth development organization where members actually decide how it operates.
- Experiential learning — Members actively participate in their interest areas. Want to learn about insects? Start a bug collection in the entomology project. Like to work with your hands? Build a rocket in rocketry or a table in woodworking projects. Learn to bake your favorite pie in foods and nutrition project. Interested in something that isn’t an official project? No problem! Enter the Self-Determined project and come up with your own unique creation.
- Research-based support from local, state and national experts — 4-H is administered in Kansas through K-State Research and Extension, giving 4-H’ers, volunteers, and leaders access to the latest data in research and youth development.
A better question might be “Why not 4-H?”
A study of 4-H’ers completed in Johnson County in 2016 showed some great results in areas of decision making, leadership, communication, and citizenship.
- 93% are comfortable making their own decisions
- 90% don’t succumb to peer pressure
- 94% volunteer more and feel they can make a difference through community service
- 90% improved their listening skills
- 96% treat everyone fairly/equally when in charge of a group and allow group members to have a voice
Who wouldn’t want youths to be better leaders, citizens, communicators, and make better decisions? So I ask again, why not 4-H?
If you, or someone you know, is interested in joining 4-H, contact the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension office at 913-715-7000.
You can also learn more about joining and the different clubs in Johnson County at http://www.johnson.k-state.edu/4-h/about-join/index.html. Feel free to contact Club Leaders to get a feel for how you might fit into that club.
Or come see for yourself what 4-H has to offer your child. Visit our Project Fair the evening of October 2nd here at the Extension Office (map to our office).
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram at @jocoks4h