4-H News: Enjoy the perks of being a 4-H’er

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The new school year is off and going, and so is the new 4-H program year. Chances are if your young person has an interest, 4-H has a program that explores it.
Not only does 4-H provide an opportunity for its members to try something they think they might enjoy, but 4-H’s programs are designed in a way that 4-H’ers will learn many valuable life skills in the process.
Many 4-H programs are hands-on and take important educational concepts beyond a classroom setting and into the field. 4-H’ers don’t just learn about topics like nutrition or science, they have the opportunity to get their hands dirty by growing a garden or they can design, build and test robots or rockets. Through these programs, they learn how to experiment with new ideas and concepts and to keep trying if their first idea doesn’t succeed. As they complete activities, 4-H’ers gain confidence in themselves and their ability to complete tasks.
As young people participate in various aspects of 4-H, they have the opportunity to meet others who share similar interests and to make new friends from different counties and states.
All 4-H activities are conducted in a safe environment with caring adults. This gives young people an opportunity to develop relationships with these supportive individuals who many times, share similar interests with the youth. Many times, our adult volunteers are professionals or experts in a particular field and love sharing their knowledge with young people.
Having meaningful relationships in a safe environment helps 4-H’ers gain confidence to speak about issues and topics that are important to them. In fact, many alumni credit 4-H’s public speaking opportunities with helping them become successful adults. In addition to speaking about issues that are important to them, 4-H’ers can make a difference in their communities by taking on a leadership role in a civic engagement project.  
4-H offers many avenues for young people to join. Youth can participate in a 4-H club or a special-interest club or by attending camp. Many teachers use 4-H curriculum to enhance their educational offerings in the classroom. 4-H curriculum is also utilized in after-school programs located in schools, churches and community organizations. Young people can also choose to complete a 4-H project on their own under the guidance of an adult family member.
For more information on how 4-H can enrich your child’s life, contact Jessi Williams, 4-H Youth Development Agent, at the Owen County Cooperative Extension Service.