Our search for different activities for our children led us to 4-H. We discovered that 4-H is much more than farming and raising animals. 4-H is robotics, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), expressive arts, citizenship, leadership and more. Here are sixteen reasons why 4-H could be right for your child.
Our children are designing robots, showing dogs, learning crafts, developing leadership skills, lobbying the state legislature, managing events and serving people in need. 4-H members in the U.S. are exploring hydroponic gardening, renewable energy sources, bioengineering, collecting data on butterflies through WINGS, a partnership between kids and professional scientists and many more activities.
Kids can explore anything that interests them. Support, mentoring and connections are available through 4-H.
3 All 50 States Have 4-H Programs
4-H is part of the U.S. government Cooperative Extension Service. You can contact your state university, your county cooperative extension office, or www.4-h.org for local club information. You can even start your own club, or your child can be an individual member.
4 4-H is Urban, Suburban and Rural
Programs include clubs, afterschool activities, camps, fairs, events and conventions. Activities can be local, county, state, regional or national.
5 Low Cost
There are no uniforms or equipment to purchase to get started.
6 Varied Time Commitment
You may have more time available to devote to 4-H at certain times of the month or year, and that is okay. There is no set number of hours required to participate.
7 Opportunity to be Yourself
Peer pressure to be part of certain groups is not a part of 4-H. It is okay to be an individual without being singled out.
8 Youth Ages 8 to 18, Sometimes Younger
Some states offer clubs for younger children.
Children are connected to other youth and adults who have knowledge in areas that your child is interested in.
Involvement exposes youth to learn and practice leadership skills that become life skills. There is an annual week-long national leadership summit.
11 Projects and Goals
Kids design their own projects and set goals for what they want to learn about. This empowerment process will teach life skills and foster ambition. The projects can be displayed at regional 4-H fairs, giving children a sense of pride and accomplishment.
12 Make Friends Through Shared Interests
A great way to create lasting friendships is through activities that can be enjoyed together. There is always something to do or talk about.
13 Making A Difference
4-H youth feel like they are making a difference, in their clubs, their community and their country. 4-H activities open their minds to the larger universe. 4-H youth have opportunities to speak to their state legislators about local and global things that matter now, and in the future.
14 Technology Programs and Projects
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is a major focus for 4-H to prepare youth for the future, through projects and programs.
15 Attend National Conferences in Washington, D.C. and Other U.S. Cities
The 4-H National Youth Conference Center is located in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Some of the annual events are the Geospatial Technologies Summit, the Agri-Science Summit, the Summit on Robotics, the Healthy Living Summit, 4-H National Conference and Citizenship Washington.
16 Adults Can Volunteer
Training and support is provided and opportunities are matched with your level of time commitment. Adults can be involved with clubs, youth education, events, committees and leadership.
According to the 4-H website, 4-H youth are tackling our "top issues, from global food security, climate change and sustainable energy, to childhood obesity and food safety." STEM opportunities include agriculture, animal science, rocketry, robotics, environmental protection and computer science, "to improve the nation's ability to compete in key scientific fields and take on the leading challenges of the 21st century." Young people will change our world.
Sarah Yale works, writes, and is the mother of two 4-H members. We are all having a great time participating in 4-H. We've met the nicest people, and made wonderful, lasting friendships with kids and parents.
Spotsylvania 4-H Camp
When: August 2-6, 2015
Where: Northern Virginia 4-H Educational Center
Cost: $310 and includes the following: transportation to and from camp, meals and lodging for five days and four nights, a camp T-shirt, and class supplies, scholarships are available.
Registration is open and is first come basis: http://offices.ext.vt.edu/spotsylvania/programs/4h/index.html
Each morning, campers attend three different classes from a range of options that include activities such as fishing, archery, horseback riding, swimming, tie dye, or a ropes challenge course. Lunch is followed by free recreation and swim time, and every evening campers enjoy a campfire, snack, and an evening program.