Ok, ok, I know, it's several days past Thursday and I forgot to post this last week. Forgive me please. I was so busy getting ready for our 4-H Leader's meeting, that I forgot to post about how thankful I am for 4-H.
I am thankful for 4-H. 4-H was a big part of my youth (10 years of it!), it was a part of my Mom's youth, and now our girls are involved with 4-H. If you've ever wondered 'why 4-H?' allow me to share just a little bit of how it has impacted my life.
I grew up out in the country, attended a small rural elementary school, and then attended Middle School and High School in Lebanon ( a city of about 13,000.) When I started 4-H in 3rd grade, it was a neat thing to do. We had monthly meetings, and I got to attend with "those big kids" that lived nearby. I found out that those bigger (older) kids weren't that different than I was. I made some new friends, I learned how to give a demonstration, we took tours of the farms of kids who had livestock projects, and I learned the basics of parlimentary procedure. I ended up switching to a different club after a couple of years. I still saw the kids from my first club at the fair, and at school, and everywhere else we went (small communities are like that.) But I had found a club that fit me better. Giant kudos go to my parents for putting up with driving me & my brother to different club meetings every month.
I made new friends, learned how much work it takes to put on a fundraiser, watched my friends learn how to drive, and even won an award trip to Chicago. I was encouraged, challenged, rewarded, and given valuable life skills.
4-H still does that today. It is a safe environment where kids learn life skills, life lessons, and make friends. It gives responsibility, and then requires you to live up to your obligations. It teaches you the value of giving your word, and keeping it.
I know 4-H is not for everyone, but it is a great part of life for a lot of people. Not everyone will be a 10 year 4-H member. That's ok. Many youth gain valuable lessons even if they're only in 4-H for a year or two.
4-H gives you a chance to try new things. The Junior Leader program is a phenominal program for learning servant-leadership. The additional time commitment it takes limits how many kids actually participate. I should know. I was a Jr Leader, but our girls are not, because they already have other activities they are involved in that teach leadership skills. There are only 24 hours in a day.
So, if you're thinking 4-H would be a good idea for your family, get some more information. Talk to your local Extension educators. Indiana 4-H has a wonderful sponsoring University in Purdue. Locally, here in Madison county, we have 2 of the best Youth Educators you'll ever find running our 4-H programs. We have dedicated Volunteer Leaders, and a whole host of clubs to choose from. There are so many projects to choose from that it is often difficult for kids to decide. It's ok to choose a project this year, and do something different next year!
Today, and every day, I am thankful for 4-H!
Just in case you're wondering...my favorite 4-H projects growing up were Leathercraft, and Shooting Sports! Two things I still enjoy doing today!