AMES, Iowa — National 4-H Week is Oct. 6-12 and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is celebrating 4-H youth who make an impact on Iowa communities, and are stepping up to the challenges of a complex and changing world.
Approximately one in five Iowa school-age youth participate in 4-H programs, said Keli Tallman, 4-H youth development specialist. In other words, more than 105,000 young Iowans are involved in 4-H clubs, special interest groups, school enrichment, camping and other 4-H programs each year.
Iowa 4-H programs are headquartered at the Iowa State University campus in Ames and available through ISU Extension and Outreach offices in all Iowa counties. During National 4-H Week, local 4-H programs are hosting open houses and special events, and inviting youth to learn about and enroll in 4-H.
“4-H prepares Iowa’s youth to be successful, contributing members of society,” Tallman said. “We empower youth to reach their full potential through youth-adult partnerships and research-based experiences.”
“4-H’ers are kids who learn by doing. We’re ‘hands-on’ with projects that range from citizenship to communication, foods and nutrition, leadership — even science and technology. We’re developing life skills today — to become Iowa’s leaders tomorrow,” said Black Hawk County 4-H’er Mitch Juhl. “We have fun, work hard and learn from our adult mentors. 4-H also provides opportunities for us to ‘give back.’ Experiences like these are the foundation of 4-H’s success.”
“4-H is an organization that has taught me how important it is to be involved in my community and I am committed to staying involved as I grow older,” said Sac County 4-H’er Renae Drey.
“4-H has given me the chance to hold countless leadership positions, not just in my county, but also statewide through 4-H council and nationally,” said Webster County 4-H’er Rebecca Nellis.
“I’ve developed leadership and teamwork skills that will be immensely beneficial when I go to college and begin looking for a job,” said Van Buren County 4-H’er Grace Westercamp.
More than 7,500 adult volunteers contribute their time, energy and expertise to engage youth in hands-on learning experiences in healthy living; science, technology, engineering and math; citizenship and leadership; and communication and the arts.
ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development partners with nearly 3,000 organizations, associations, businesses and school districts to strengthen local 4-H programs, including long-term learning experiences with youth through 4-H clubs and shorter-term learning through camps, special events and in-school and out-of-school programs. Nearly 1,000 4-H afterschool programs serve approximately 17,000 children and youth in grades K-12.
“We fully support long-term learning experiences for youth through 4-H clubs. However, we offer a range of short-term to long-term experiences for youth, including clubs as well as after¬school programs, camps, events, and in-school programs. We offer our programs in multiple ways in order to reach more youth,” Tallman explained.
“4-H will continue to focus on positive youth development combined with a strong educational foundation for Iowa’s youth,” she said.
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
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, on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The 2013 National Science Experiment, 4-H Maps & Apps, will introduce youth to the importance of geographic information systems (GIS) and geographic positioning systems (GPS). Youth will design and map their ideal park, use mapping to solve community problems and contribute data to the U.S. Geological Survey National Map Corps project. For more information about 4-H National Youth Science Day, visit http://www.4-h.org/NYSD/.