This time of year I am always reminded of our years in 4-H. When my boys were young we had a 4-H club that met in our home for nine years. We started with about eight members and when we moved to Iowa the club had grown to over sixty. This week our club back in Ohio is experiencing the exciting culmination of a year’s worth of hard work. The county fair is just winding down and well-deserved ribbons are being proudly displayed. It’s such a special time. I remember watching my boys putting on the finishing touches to all their projects, some details coming together much too close to the deadline for me! And now my grandchildren are getting old enough to experience 4-H too. They have actually joined the club we started so many years ago.
I believe that my boys are strong leaders today because of their participation in 4-H. It was in 4-H that they learned leadership skills but there was much more to it than that. They also learned something useful with each new project they took on. They learned to follow through and put in their very best effort. They learned to work in cooperation with others. They also learned to cook and take care of animals and to build with their own hands. 4-H was an important part of our homeschool experience. We incorporated the projects into our regular school day and learned things we might not otherwise have gotten around to.
The 4-H program begins with a group called Cloverbuds which is aimed at early elementary students. At age nine a child can become an official 4-H member and even run for an office. From there, students can remain members until they turn nineteen. There are dozens of project areas to explore. You can choose published projects that include all the instructions you need or design your own projects. The projects all easily work as unit studies that can be as simple or as in-depth as you desire. The opportunities available through 4-H are so extensive I can’t cover all of them here. You will find all the details at the National 4-H website.
4-H is available in all fifty states and many countries around the world. To find your local 4-H community check out the Find 4-H page. 4-H is way more than shearing sheep and growing crops. If you think it’s just for farm kids, look again. You’ll be glad you did.