Editorial - Benefits of joining 4-H are powerfulIf you think 4-H is a club only for farm kids, think again.
If you think 4-H is a club only for farm kids, think again.
4-H is for everyone and getting involved in it can bring big benefits – good grades, confidence and development of character traits like independence, cooperation with others and a mastery of skills that can be used life long.
This week, National 4-H Week, ?young people throughout Minnesota will celebrate how 4-H helps them make a difference in their lives and in their communities.
This is a group that makes an impact.
Approximately 123,486 young people across the state participated in University of Minnesota Extension's 4-H program in 2009. That’s nearly a quarter of all youth between the ages of 5-19 living in the state.
Dorothy McCargo Freeman,? Extension's 4-H youth development state program leader, explains why 4-H is so meaningful: "4-H provides positive non-school learning opportunities that are critical ?for the development of young people. As a result, 4-H?youth are able to contribute and make a difference in positive ways in their ?homes, schools and communities throughout Minnesota."
4-H’s emphasis on "learning by doing" encourages youth to experiment, be innovative and think independently.
4-H programs are offered through school-based, ?after-school and camp settings and within community clubs, where groups meet regularly to work on projects, perform community service and develop leadership skills. In the process, young people obtain life skills such as problem solving, decision making, coping and communicating.
4-H has also changed with the times. Today's projects include the traditional and still popular animal science projects, as well as community service learning, but 4-H youth also work on cutting-edge technology projects, such as robotics, GPS, video production and environmental projects.
To combat a national shortage of young people pursuing science ?careers, 4-H is also working to spark an early interest in science,? engineering, technology and math. This year, 4-H members are learning how increased amounts of carbon dioxide can affect aquatic animals, plants ?and other living organisms in lakes, streams, rivers and oceans.
Research shows that 4-H programs are making a difference in the lives of ?youth. According to a 2009 report from the Tufts University, 4-H youth, compared to youth in other programs:
•Have better grades.
•Are more emotionally engaged with school and are more likely to see themselves going to college.
•Are more than twice as likely to be civically active and make contributions to their communities.
That’s some powerful incentives to get involved in 4-H.
To learn more about the 4-H program in Douglas County, contact Kim Taveirne, University of Minnesota Extension, Douglas County, 720 Fillmore Street, Suite B090, Alexandria, MN 56308; (320) 762-3890 or visit the www.extension.umn.edu/county/douglas.