Start a New School Year With 4-H

— Written By Donna Tulley and last updated by

Summer is almost over. School is getting ready to start. Lots of excitement and then the routine starts again: the old outcry of “There is nothing for kids to do around here”! Is there a solution to this complaint? YES! It’s called 4-H! And you can help make it happen. All you need is a few caring adults and at least 5 children from 3 different families who meet at least once a month to create a club. Your club can be based on almost any area. Examples are cooking, adventure, robotics, nature, animals, math, financial management, etc. We now have two clubs in Clay County: Trails and Rails Horse Club and the Clay County Community Club. Your local 4-H agent works with club leaders to provide training and access to information to use with the clubs. Clubs can be full time or a special interest group. Special interest groups typically last six weeks and deal with one topic. An example could be basic sewing or how to bake. If you have at least five youth that are interested in a special interest group, call your local 4-H agent to get something organized.

Other benefits to 4-H youth could be to:

  • Master skills to make career and life choices.
  • Connect to communities and learn to give back to others.
  • Mature in self-discipline and responsibility.
  • Learn to better understand themselves.
  • Become independent thinkers.
  • Develop lifelong friendships and long-term relationships with caring adults.

4-H helps to build leaders with marketable skills to succeed in today’s global society. Several national studies affirm the 4-H benefit:

  • 4-H members are 50% less likely than non 4-H members to smoke cigarettes, shoplift, or use illegal drugs.
  • 4-H members are 20% more likely to hold a leadership position in their school or community than non 4-H members.
  • 4-H members are 21% more likely to get involved in projects that “help others” than are non 4-H members.
  • 4-H members are 65% more likely than non 4-H members to have held conversations with an adult other than a parent that lasted 10 minutes or more within the past month.
  • 40% of 4-H alumni have completed a university degree, compared to 28% nationwide.

4-H offers programs, trips and scholarships for members, leaders, and families. 4-H offers a unique opportunity for family time that often gets overlooked in the rush of every day modern life. This summer, we had two separate day camps in which the young people spent a full day outside learning about insects and trees. They also learned how to use hammers and nails and built a critter keeper to help them observe different bugs.

You don’t have to be the parent of a child to volunteer. You just need to have a sincere desire to help provide a positive environment to help our children grow and succeed. In 4-H, we learn by doing. Won’t you consider being a part of the adventure? Contact your local Extension Office at 828-389-6305 to get more information on how you can be a part of the future.