What is 4-H?

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At some point or another you’ve  probably heard about 4-H. It’s commonly known  as activity for people who live in the country or who have animals; but 4-H can be enjoyed by people of all ages and interests.

As  a 12 year member and president of a Delaware county club i can say say that 4-H has made a huge impact on my life. I’ve learned many skill like being able to speak in public and do interviews. Some of these skills are things kids and teens are never taught in school and 4-H provides that opportunity for them. So what exactly is 4-H?

4-H stands for the four “H” words that represent the ethics of the organization:

Head – Managing and Thinking

Heart – Relating and Caring

Hands – Giving and Working

Health – Being and Living

Delaware county is home to around 75 clubs and offers over 200 projects. A few of the project areas include art, cooking, science, large and small animals, and much more. You can become a member or “cloverbud” if you are between the ages of 5 and 19. Adults can also become advisers or volunteers.

Throughout the year members work on their projects along with community services and fundraisers. Members can also participate in local or state fairs.

The fair is one of the main highlights of the 4-H year. Members get to display what they have learned about their project to everyone while having fun with their friends and seeing what other people have done through their projects. Many members also get paid some money for participating. Market animal projects and baking projects also have the opportunity to go to auction where local businesses bid on the food or animal. Through the this the businesses support 4-H and the members get to keep most of the profits from their item.

Over the years i’ve done over 15 different projects. Projects are books that teach you about a certain thing you want to learn like cooking or how to care for  an animal while giving you hands on experience. Advisers, volunteers, and parents usually help the members with these.

Before fair members get interviewed by people of experience in their project area. I remember that first year sitting down in front of this adult and being terrified. Now interviews are something i look forward to because i know i have the experience and can speak in front of people without getting nervous. Over the years 4-H has also doubled my resume and experience and given me the opportunity to work in a somewhat professional environment as a leader. 4-H can even open up scholarship opportunities for kids who are graduating and have participated in 4-H.

As a member i got to participate in and come up with many interesting fundraisers and community service projects. One of these was creating a movie night series for  my township in a local park. We advertised and got sponsors and even helped a local wildcat sanctuary by creating a short movie to urge the community to get involved and donate supplies. We also worked our own concession stand and taught the younger members how to do things like take orders and give change.

4-H has helped shaped me into the person i am today and has helped me learn to love things i never thought i would enjoy doing. It provides a new learning experience for kids and teens as well as way to meet new friends, find new interests and make memories.

You can get involved by contacting your local extension office or going to www.4-h.org.