— Oct. 6-12 is National 4-H Week.
4-H is a non-formal education program for youth between 5-19. Youth develop citizenship, leadership and self-confidence through a variety of learning experiences. 4-H began in rural areas, but now it is for urban and suburban areas, as well as rural farm and non-farm settings.
4-H began in 1902 when O.H. Benson from Iowa decided to develop a program that would teach boys and girls more about rural living. It was not actually called 4-H until 1918. At first the symbol that represented 4-H was a three leaf clover that stood for head, heart and hands, then hustle was added for the fourth H. However shortly after, hustle was changed to health, so today the symbol is a four leaf clover and the four H's are head, heart, hands and health.
There are a variety of different clubs that youth can join including community, agricultural, project, and horse clubs. Some are based upon one project, but others include a variety of different projects. Projects are used to teach 4-H members responsibility, decision making, helps them develop appreciation and the ability to take initiative.
There are over 150 projects available for members to do. Categories include animal sciences, citizenship and civic education, healthy lifestyles education, family and consumer sciences, leadership and personal development, diversity and international affairs, communications and expressive arts, science and technology, environmental education and earth science and plant sciences.
Youth have opportunities to participate in different activities in their county, district, region, state and even nationally. Some opportunities are county workshops, judging teams, camps, county fairs, fashion review, regional horse clinics, district dairy, PA Farm Show and state achievement days.
A large part of 4-H is also community service. Every club is required to do at least one thing a year for the community. Some things that clubs do are roadside cleanups, visiting nursing homes, collecting food for people and animals and shopping for less fortunate kids at Christmas time.
If you are interested in 4-H or want to learn more about it contact the Wayne County Extension Office at 570-253-5970 ext. 4110.