Ever heard of 4-H? If not, I’m glad you’re reading this article, if you have, I’m still glad, and keep on reading. I have been a part of 4-H since I was in Kindergarten, and I’ve loved it. Simply put, 4-H is a youth program focused on teaching kids leadership and life skills. This is achieved through completing projects, like raising an animal and attending meetings.
Anyone from the ages of 5-19 can join the program, one of the best parts of being a 4-Her is when the older members help the younger members with their projects, and you can participate all throughout your childhood. Alternatively, if you are no longer a child, you can sign up to be a volunteer, and help organize events, run meetings, and teach lessons that the kids will remember for the rest of their lives.
According to the official 4-H website, “A. B. Graham started a youth program in Clark County, Ohio, in 1902, which is considered the birth of 4‑H in the United States. The first club was called “The Tomato Club” or the “Corn Growing Club”. T.A. Erickson of Douglas County, Minnesota, started local agricultural after-school clubs and fairs that same year. Jessie Field Shambaugh developed the clover pin with an H on each leaf in 1910, and by 1912 they were called 4‑H clubs.” 4-H was originally started in order to instruct rural youth in improved farming and farm-homemaking practices, but since then, it has grown into something far bigger.
The 4-H slogan is: “Learn by Doing,” and the projects you complete in your 4-H experience prove that. There are so many opportunities for projects you can participate in. You can participate in an animal project, like Poultry, Dog, Beef, Chicken, Pig, and Rabbit. If you’re artsier, you can paint, draw, take pictures, knit, and sew. There are even some more unexpected ones, like Robotics, Archery, Rocketry, Performing arts, Lego building, table setting, and more. And there’s no one saying you can’t do all of these things.
In monthly meetings, the kids lead and follow Robert’s rules of order. Though aided by adult volunteers, it’s mostly the kids who make decisions. As a teenager, the opportunities grow, and you can participate in things like Know Your Government, an annual trip to the Washington State Capital, Olympia, in order to learn more about how our state government works. This year, Know Your Government is virtual, and open to everyone 13 years and older, you can sign up online. Another leadership opportunity is serving for the Washington 4-H State Ambassadors. A team of teens from around the state organize events and spread awareness about 4-H. I am lucky enough to be a State Ambassador, where I’ve learned so much and met so many people.
Club leader Kathy Morris, Along with project leaders Jenny Degroot, Jennifer Pietsch, Susan Stoltz, Alyson Stephens, Danna Kinsey, Amy and Eric Lum, Josephine Bangs, Joe and Lisl, and many, many others have helped me in my 4-H Journey, and are ready to help many more.
I believe that the 4-H program is one that everyone should have some connection with. If you are or know someone who is of age to join 4-H, please don’t hesitate to join. Thank you!