As the largest youth organization in the United States, 4-H provides youth a unique education on life skills through fun, hands-on, youth-led learning. 4-H programs cultivate a sense of belonging and empowerment through partnerships with adult volunteers and community members. Our goal is to enable youths to grow into confident, compassionate, capable and resilient adults.
Our program is project-centered, meaning that youths pick a project based on their specific interests, suitable for their age, and focus on it throughout the year. These projects can be anything that the member is interested in learning more about and do not require the member to have any previous experience. When most people think of 4-H, they imagine raising animals, baking and cooking. These are some of our most popular and loved projects; but 4-H offers more than 100 different projects for youth to choose from that fit their specific interests.
I could give hundreds of reasons to join 4-H, but I am limited on space, so here are my top five reasons why you should join 4-H.
- 4-H inspires life-long learning. Youths are given the opportunity to explore different fields of study so they have a broader understanding of the world around them. They are able to reflect on what they learn and apply those concepts to other areas of their lives and continue to build on it.
- 4-H builds life skills. Our hands-on and experiential approach is proven to build life skills in reasoning, compassion and social skills through experiences and interactions with other 4-H youths and adult volunteers.
- 4-H empowers youths to become true leaders. They learn how to work well with others through club and project involvement. They learn that it’s OK to make mistakes and how to work through them and they learn to see a project through to completion. 4-H gives youths the tools and guidance they need, then empowers them to take the lead.
- Community service is one of the integral parts of 4-H. We believe that by participating in community service, our youths will become more compassionate and giving: two very important characteristics of a well-rounded citizen and a great community. I am so proud of our 4-H members and leaders for their innovations, thoughtfulness and commitment to our community each and every year.
- 4-H gives youths unique opportunities to attend statewide and national leadership conferences as well as interstate and international exchanges. These opportunities enable our youths to meet other 4-Hers from around the globe and build lifelong friendships. They are able to broaden their perspectives while they learn about different cultures and experience new things. These experiences empower youth by allowing them to learn more about themselves and build independence.
As a result, 4-H members grow to be great leaders and contributing citizens of their community, country and world.
Our enrollment is currently ope, and our goal is to make 4-H welcoming and inclusive for everyone; part of this is keeping enrollment fees as low as possible. It only costs $25 to join La Plata County 4-H for the year, which includes project manuals and most of our local activities. We also offer scholarships for enrollment, camps and state leadership events.
If you are interested in getting involved in our 4-H program as a member or volunteer, please reach out to the La Plata County Extension Office for more information and the steps to get started.
Angela Fountain is the La Plata County 4-H youth development agent. Reach her at email@example.com or 382-6460.