4-H: a Q&A series begins

     A question-and-answer series about 4-H begins this week with an introduction about the program.


What is 4-H?

     4-H provides opportunities for youth to develop skills they can use now and throughout their lives.  4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills as they work in partnership with caring adults. In 4-H youth learn by doing projects that are designed to fit their needs at different ages. 4-H teaches about a variety of projects from food to forestry, rockets and rabbits. 4-H gives kids all kinds of opportunities to experience life skills, to practice them, and to be able to use them throughout their lifetime. 4-H teaches young people how to meet their needs in positive ways. 4-H works with young people in a variety of settings including schools, day camps, overnight camps and trips, clubs and other learning environments.

     4-H encourages youth to gain knowledge and learn practical life skills and apply both in their project areas. Members learn to work together as a team and to develop a sense of fair play. 4-H members learn decision making skills as well as communication, leadership, and citizenship skills through project work, experiential learning,  community service learning, competitive events and other 4-H educational experiences. Members improve their communication skills through club interaction, record keeping and presentations. They acquire educational and vocational experiences and learn how to set realistic goals for themselves. They also develop life skills such as basic health and safety financial practices.

     Research from Tufts University show that 4-H youth are competent, confident, caring, and connected, and that they exhibit strong character. The Tufts study shows that 4-Hers contribute more to their families and communities, achieve higher grades in school and are more likely to go to college than youth who are not in 4-H, or even youth who participated in other out of school programs. In addition, youth involved in 4-H lead healthier, more productive lives, are less likely to suffer from depression and are less likely to participate in risky behaviors like drinking and smoking.

     New Iowa State University Extension research shows that Iowa youth credit their 4-H experiences with making them better citizens, leaders and communicators. It’s one thing to learn a skill; it’s another to put that skill into practice and change behavior. 4-H offers a higher degree of learning and this study showed to offer such an impact. This study showed significant statistic increases in citizenship, leadership and communication for those youth who participated in 4-H.

     4-H is the largest youth organization in the world. It is a part of every county in Iowa. 4-H can be found in over 80 countries around the world. Here in Jones County we have approximately 300 members in the numerous community clubs. Jones County 4-H is accepting new members.

     (Next week: Eligibility, costs, how to join, meetings, etc.)



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