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National 4-H Week!

UNL Extension Office in Clay County Wearing 4-H t-shirts during National 4-H Week.

Did you know that more than 6 million young people across the United States are celebrating National 4-H Week October 6-13, 2013?!  Research has proven that participation in 4-H has a significant positive impact on young people. Recent findings from the Tufts University 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicate that, when compared to their peers, young people in 4-H are:

1)      Nearly 4 times more likely to contribute to their communities
2)      Two times more likely to pursue healthy behaviors
3)      Two times more likely to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in the out-of-school time.

4-H is the largest youth development organization in the world!  It’s a community of seven million young people across the globe learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills.  In the U.S., 4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country. Overseas, 4-H programs operate throughout more than 50 countries.

To learn more about 4-H locally, contact our office at 402-762-3644 or on our webpage.  We would like to visit with you about the program and how you and your youth could become involved!  We’re always looking for potential volunteers and program ideas.  You can also learn more about 4-H at the State and National levels.

Challenge-Wear a 4-H Shirt and Post it on Facebook or Twitter:

When to Post: October 6 to 12, 2013.  Post your pictures then check back to “like” your favorite photos!  Official voting ends October 13th at midnight.
How to Enter: Post your picture via:
1)  Facebook: post to the event titled: 2013 Wear A 4-H Shirt
2)  Twitter: use hash tag #weara4Hshirt

Be sure to tag your photo with your category entry!  The picture categories:

1)      Most People in One Photo
2)      Nebraska Landscapes
3)      Fun and Food

The best picture from each category will receive a prize!

Farming Fun

National 4-H Week and Reflections

Happy National 4-H Week!  Thank you to all the volunteers and supporters that make 4-H in our area counties and the State a success; we wouldn’t have the 4-H program without numerous volunteers such as many of you reading this!

A few weeks ago, I was attempting to explain not only Extension but 4-H to a group of people who didn’t understand either.  A survey found that nearly 96% of people recognize the name 4-H but only 35% recognize Extension.  That’s why at our County fair, I put up the large red flags to help people make the connection between Extension and 4-H.  I think many in our county are familiar that 4-H has to do something with the fair, but it’s so much more than that!  Essentially 4-H is a youth development program coordinated by land grant universities such as UNL through the Cooperative Extension System.  The National 4-H site at http://4h.org states that “4-H fosters an innovative, “learn by doing” approach with proven results.”  A study conducted by Tufts University found that youth involved with 4-H are nearly two times more likely to get better grades in school, are nearly two times more likely to go to college, 41% less likely to engage in risky behaviors, and 25% more likely to positively contribute to their families and communities.  

The 4-H pledge explains what the 4 H’s stand for including pledging our:
*Heads to clearer thinking
*Hearts to greater loyalty
*Hands to larger service
*Health to better living….for our clubs, communities, country, and world.

I remember reciting this pledge at every monthly meeting at a 4-Her.  I’m so thankful for the numerous volunteers-particularly the amount of time our club leader invested into the youth in our club-teaching us to sew and the importance of straight seems, cook the 4-H way, model sewn garments, importance of volunteering and community service, and teaching us parliamentary procedure by empowering us as youth to run and conduct meetings.  I’m thankful for volunteers who spent each week during the summer teaching me about weeds, trees, and horticulture ID….skills I use nearly every day of my Extension career and as a homeowner.  While we often worked on them last minute and weren’t thrilled about doing them, I’m thankful my mom required us to do 4-H presentations each year to develop public speaking skills.  I’m thankful my grandma taught me how to make homemade bread and rolls and that so many volunteers worked with me on my 4-H Jr. Leader projects to help me develop leadership skills.  I’m also thankful for the Extension staff at the office while I was growing up-they were always so friendly and helpful and modeled the way for me in my career today.

Thinking about my 4-H experiences reminds me that you are encouraged by the Nebraska 4-H Foundation to share your 4-H story!  Some have asked me what this means.  Essentially, any of us who have went through the 4-H program or volunteered with the 4-H program has a story to tell about how 4-H has benefited us or how we’ve seen the program benefit others.  It may be a funny story or a serious one.  The best part is that it’s YOUR story and the 4-H Foundation wants to hear them to help with promoting 4-H!  The deadline is November 30th and you can find more information at:  http://www.ne4hfoundation.org.  Thanks again to everyone involved with helping or supporting the 4-H program and to the 1 in every 3 Nebraska youth currently involved with the 4-H program! 

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