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4-H enrollment time has arrived
michelle beran
Michelle Beran

October 1-7 is an exciting time as 4-H families across the nation celebrate National 4-H Week! According to the National 4-H website, 4-H was established as Youth Clubs in 1902 with agricultural after-school clubs focused on particular ag products such as tomatoes or corn. The passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 created the Cooperative Extension System at USDA and nationalized 4-H. By 1914, 4-H Clubs were formed and the clover emblem was adopted. The Cooperative Extension System is a partnership of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture within the USDA, more than 100 land-grant universities and more than 3,000 county offices across the nation, including all 105 counties in Kansas. Cooperative Extension combines the expertise and resources of federal, state, and local governments to meet the need for research, knowledge, and educational programs. In 4 H, we believe in the power of young people. We see that every child has valuable strengths and real influence to improve the world around us. 

On Sept. 26, I was joined by 4-H Ambassador Ailey Williams, to address the Barton County Commission. We were delighted with Proclamation 2023-13 which states, in part, “4-H, as delivered by Cooperative Extension – a community of more than 100 public universities across the nation that provides experiences where young people have taken on critical societal issues, such as addressing community health inequities, engaging in civil discourse, and advocating for equity and inclusion for all; and whereas, National 4-H Week showcases the incredible experiences that 4-H offers young people, and highlights the remarkable 4-H youth in Kansas and throughout America who work each day to make a positive impact on those around them. Now, therefore, be it proclaimed by the Board of County Commissioners of Barton County, Kansas, that Oct. 1-7, is hereby known as National 4-H Week throughout Barton County; and further, that the Commission recognizes the importance of using the Head, Heart, Hands, and Health, the four core values of the 4-H mission, to make the best better...”

If you know of a young person who would benefit from the opportunities of 4-H, enrollment for the new year began Oct. 1! The Cottonwood Extension District offers eight community clubs in Barton County and over 40 project areas from Art to Woodworking for youth to explore, learn, and grow. More information can be found at our website or by calling one of our offices.

If you happen to be in our Ellis County area, 4-H members will have several displays around the county!

Community service and citizenship are hallmarks of the 4-H program! 48Hrs of 4-H is a state-wide service challenge. Cottonwood-Barton 4-H families will meet at the 4-H Educational Buildings on Sunday, Oct. 8 to clean up and work on a variety of projects. Previous projects have included clean up at Great Bend-Brit Spaugh Zoo and the making cookies for county-wide emergency service personnel. Many individual clubs will take on separate projects in their town. Teaching youth the value of giving back to their communities helps all communities be stronger and to develop the leaders needed to not just survive but to thrive!

Keep learning. Keep showing grace and kindness.

Michelle Beran is the 4-H and youth development agent for the Cottonwood District, Barton County office. For more information on this article or other 4-H Youth and Development related questions email Michelle at or call 620-793-1910.