In this busy world, schedules often send family members in a variety of directions. The Barton County 4-H program can help bring families together, said Berny Unruh, 4-H Barton County youth development agent.
This coming week is National 4-H Week, a chance to highlight the beneifts of the organization and encourage folks to join, she said.
4-H is place where everyone in the family can go together on the same night to the same meeting, she said. 4-H families can learn together. They can plan projects, events and activities together. Family members can help out as club leaders, project leaders, new family coordinators and just providing support at 4-H events.
4-H is a nationwide program led by state land-grant universities in conjunction with the county or district extension council. In Kansas the land-grant university is Kansas State University. This educational youth development effort is offered in each of Kansas’ 105 counties. In Barton County, there are eight community clubs and two of the clubs are project oriented but youth can join any club no matter what the project interest. There are also 4-H after-school activities that youth can get involved in.
The first step to joining 4-H is to visit a 4-H Club and the second step is to fill out an enrollment card. The clubs and leaders are listed at www.barton.ksu.edu under the 4-H and youth page. The project enrollment card will invite youth to choose one or two projects to work on. The projects range from beef to photography to leadership and everything in between. There is even a self-determined project so youth can be creative and create a project.
The new 4-H year started this past week and families are encouraged to enroll and get started. The 4-H shooting sports program begins in October and air rifle is one project that does not allow late enrollment. It is beneficial for youth and parents to start the year out and attend all the meetings, so information is not missed.
“The learning opportunities offered to youth through 4-H allow them to explore their passions while finding their place in their communities and world,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, National Institute of Food and Agriculture director. “Research shows that youth who are involved in 4-H are nearly two times more likely to get higher grades in school and go on to gain a college education.” Youth development research has shown that youth involved in 4-H have strong inclinations toward healthy behaviors, academic excellence and civic achievement. Healthy living initiatives are proven to engage youth in positive health living behaviors.
4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. Life skills include: developing healthy interpersonal relationships, developing an inquiring mind, developing a positive self-concept, learning sound decision making, and developing a concern for the community. Simply put, 4-H is designed to support the positive and successful development of all youth. Ultimately, it helps them become confident, capable and caring adults.
On Oct. 29, a 4-H after-school program for elementary age youth will be held at the Extension Office from 3:30-5 p.m. Call the Extension Office at 620-793-1910 to sign up for this free class and learn more about the Barton County 4-H program.