4-H: An Everlasting Impact
By: Tessa Hain, 4-H Extension Assistant
When you think of 4-H, do you image a farm and exhibiting animals at a county fair? Well, think again. 4-H is about learning lifelong skills, creating new friendships, discovering new opportunities, exploring projects, and so much more. 4-H offers a wide variety of project interests such as consumer & family sciences, communications & expressive arts, animals & plants, healthy living, environmental sciences, science & technology, career and college readiness, agricultural literacy, citizenship and leadership. In fact, there are over 150 projects from which to choose. Some learning activities 4-Hers might participate in include speech contests, quality assurance training for raising meat animals, livestock judging and home environment workshops. There are also a variety of camps 4-Hers may attend during the summer that also provide learning experiences as well as fun. Many 4-H members exhibit their projects at county, regional and state fairs, which helps them feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.
What is 4-H? It is an educational program that helps young people develop new skills, explore possible career choices and serve their communities. It is one of the largest and most respected youth organizations in the world! 4-H is a community of young people, ages 5-19, who are learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. 4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential by working and learning in partnership with community members. 4-H is education for life that uses a learn-by-doing approach. Youth between the ages of 8 and 18 by January 1 of the current year may join 4-H. The Clover Kid program is for children age 5-7 as of January 1 and features educational projects and activities that are non-competitive. Youth may join a club in their area or may be an independent member. For help in finding a local club, please contact the Antelope County Extension office at the phone number or link listed below.
Why join 4-H? 4-H helps its members develop citizenship and leadership skills. The projects and activities teach members responsibility and important life-long skills. 4-H’ers establish new friendships with their fellow members and become more actively involved in their communities. 4-H offers many rewarding experiences and provides valuable benefits that shape a member's character and knowledge, which lasts a lifetime. There are actually many entertainers who were in 4-H when they were growing up. They include David Letterman, and country singers Reba McIntire, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Jennifer Nettles, and Luke Bryan- and that's just to name a few!
Great 4-H benefits: 4-H is for the whole family – 4-H is more than an activity for youth. 4-H can be a shared experience for the whole family. Parents, siblings, and relatives can have fun, discover, care, and grow along with their 4-H youth through 4-H projects and activities. By making 4-H a family affair, thousands of families enjoy the quality time it gives them. Adult volunteers can lead clubs, lend their expertise to particular project areas, and serve on teams with other volunteers.
4-H gives back – Nebraska 4-H youth are tomorrow’s leaders. Through 4-H, youth build connections with their peers, with adults, and with their communities. 4-H helps youth be a part of their community and perform community service tasks. Every youth has the potential to be a leader and 4-H helps bring this out in them!
Lifetime Benefit-Strong Roots, Promising Future- 4-H prepares youth for higher education and potential careers by emphasizing life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, serving others, as well as managing change.
Resume Builder! - Colleges and Employers are looking for people who contribute to the community and are actively involved. Being in 4-H, you can gain leadership, public speaking, communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. (Students: All of these points look GREAT on a resume!)
Connection to University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Through participating in 4-H, it allows youth to experience their “first class” at UNL that offers them unique advantages like experiencing campus, scholarships, resources, networks, talking to college faculty and professors, building connections, and more. The local Extension Office is a connection between you and UNL or any other college.
Customizable Experience- 4-H offers over 150 different projects – Throughout each project area are hands-on opportunities to learn about science, agricultural literacy, career development and college readiness, citizenship and leadership, as well as healthy living
Find your career path! - 4-H offers over 150 different projects to explore your interests and hobbies. Doing this or trying something new may even lead you to a career. By participating in 4-H projects and activities, you can also build the skills necessary for pursuing the career you chose.
Both youth and adults should consider joining and supporting 4-H, if they don't already. Through the process of 4-H, youth gain leadership skills without even realizing it and 4-Hers are continuously learning and growing. The 4-H program guarantees it will meet youth’s interests and needs because there is an endless list of activities and programs you can get involved in and it gives you a desire to help others. It is also a fun way to learn and develop a sense of responsibility, and one of the best parts is that youth will have a blast participating in 4-H activities and developing new friendships with fellow 4-Hers.
4-H is a great program and it will be a fun, positive experience for your whole family!
Please contact Antelope County Extension Office if you are interested in joining 4-H as a youth member or a leader! Deadline to enroll in Antelope County 4-H is April 1st. Call and get enrollment information today or go online to http://antelope.unl.edu/antelope4h.
Don’t forget to “like” Antelope County 4-H on Facebook!
Tessa Hain - firstname.lastname@example.org , 402-887-5414
501 Main Street, Suite B9 Neligh, NE 68756