During National 4-H Week, Oct. 7-13, 2012, youth throughout Minnesota will celebrate how 4-H helps them make a difference in their lives and communities today, and prepare for tomorrow.
Approximately 71,000 young people across Minnesota participated in University of Minnesota Extension’s 4-H program in 2011.
“4-H provides positive non-school learning opportunities that are critical for the development of young people,” said Dorothy McCargo Freeman, Extension’s 4-H youth development state program leader. “As a result, 4-H youth are able to contribute and make a difference in positive ways in their homes, schools and communities throughout Minnesota.”
4-H “learn by doing” experiences encourage youth to experiment, innovate and think independently. 4-H programs are offered through school-based, after-school and camp settings and within community clubs, where groups meet regularly to work on projects, perform community service and develop leadership skills. Through this unique process, youth obtain essential life skills such as problem solving, decision making, coping and communicating.
Today’s 4-H projects include the traditional and still-popular animal science projects, as well as community service learning. But 4-H youth also work on cutting-edge technology projects, such as robotics, GPS, and video production; and environmental projects, like testing water quality in area streams for contaminants.
Recent findings from Tufts University’s 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicate that young people in 4-H are three times more likely to contribute to their communities than youth not participating in 4-H. Notably, the Tufts research discovered that the structured learning, encouragement and adult mentoring that 4-H’ers receive play a vital role in helping them actively contribute to their communities.
Also during National 4-H Week, hundreds of thousands of youth from all around the nation will complete a single, innovative experiment on 4-H National Youth Science Day, which will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012. The 2012 National Science Experiment, 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge, explores how robots can be used to preserve and protect the environment, while offering a glimpse into the future of science, technology, engineering and math.
To learn more about 4-H Week and National 4-H Youth Science Day activities and events in your area, contact your local 4-H Extension educator or 4-H program coordinator at www.extension.umn.edu/go/1129