For the 75th consecutive year, millions of youth, parents, volunteers and alumni across the country will be celebrating National 4-H Week during the first full week of October. Madison County 4-H will leverage National 4-H Week this year by showcasing the incredible experiences that 4-H offers young people, and will highlight the remarkable 4-H youth in our community who work each day to make a positive impact on those around them.
“4-H provides opportunities for youth to develop skills they can use throughout their life. The 4-H experience builds confidence, life skills, social skills, communications skill, character, and much more. 4-H programs help children to become informed citizens in their communities as well as helping them to connect with people throughout their community through community service projects. In the past we’ve had kids that have served as volunteers at 4-H summer camps, collected cards for our Armed Services, provided holiday decorations for our community, visited senior citizen to name a few. There are so many things 4-H teaches our youth,” said local 4-H Club Leader Jacinda Jesse. “I would suggest that any child join a 4-H club and become involved in the other 4-H activities. I have seen my own children, and many other families, grow by leaps and bounds by being involved in 4-H.”
4-H alumni around the country are always the first to acknowledge the significant positive impact 4-H had on them as young people; the opportunities and experiences that 4-H provides youth empowers them to become true leaders. In fact, research has shown that young people in 4-H are almost four times as likely to contribute to their communities, and are twice as likely to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in their free time.
In Madison County, more than 125 4-H youth and 20 volunteers from the community are involved in 4-H. The local 4-H program also reaches approximately 1,700 of the 2,100 youth aged 5 to 18 through in-school clubs and projects. It’s summer day camp and overnight camping experiences allow 4-H members and non-4-H members to explore the endless possibilities 4-H offers.
“We are constantly striving to reach all youth who are 4-H aged within the county through exciting, innovative and traditional programming. It is impossible to do this without the loving support of our community and the hard work of our adult 4-H mentors and volunteers,” said Becky Bennett, the Madison County 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent. “All youth are welcome to participate in any of our programs or clubs at any time throughout the year. Registration for the new year is open and I am currently interviewing new volunteers and mentors. Everyone has some talent to share with our youth even if you only have an hour here or there to give back. I would encourage anyone to reach out to me if you or someone you know would like to help shape the lives of our youth and mold them into thriving, contributing, caring citizens!”
One of the most anticipated events of National 4-H Week every year is 4-H National Youth Science Day, which sees hundreds of thousands of youth across the nation taking part in the world’s largest youth-led science challenge. The exciting theme for this year’s challenge is Incredible Wearables. On Wednesday, Oct. 4, youth will use the engineering design process to build a prototype wearable technology that will gather data to help solve a real-world problem. Wearable technologies are now used in industries around the globe, from education and sport, to health, fashion, entertainment, transportation and communication. To learn more about National Youth Science Day, please visit http://www.4-h.org/nysd/.
4-H, the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, cultivates confident kids who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities right now. In the United States, 4-H programs empower six million young people through the 110 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension in more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the United States, independent, country-led 4-H organizations empower one million young people in more than 50 countries. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and the 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).