4-H clubs encourage leadership
National 4-H week begins on October 4th and runs through the 10th. The 2009-2010 Texas 4-H theme is “Look to the Future.” For a century, kids across Texas have been learning, leading, and having fun in 4-H, learning the value of helping their community, the importance of being a great leader, and, at the same time, having fun.
4-H provides youth from ages 9 (or 8 and in the 3rd grade) to 18 the experience to travel, work with other youth, participate in positive competitive experiences, and develop at the rate they desire. 4-H states, “Through the educational process, 4-H members have opportunities to participate in many events and activities.” The purpose of these events and activities is to gauge, or test, the knowledge they have gained through participating in a particular project.
The Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program offers many opportunities for both youth and adults to experience 4-H at the local, county, district, state, national, and international level. 4-H is for everyone, from those in the biggest Texas cities to the smallest communities. For the young person that wants to learn about computers to the teenager that wants to travel around the country, 4-H allows them to “Make it Yours.”
Dallam and Hartley Counties will celebrate 4-H week with a several special events. On Saturday, October 10th, local 4-H youth will join with the community and 4-H clubs throughout the state of Texas in observing “One Day 4-H.” One day can make a difference and one day 4-H is going to change Texas.
More than 200 4-H members and 50 volunteers are involved in 4-H in the Dallam and Hartley counties area. There are four 4-H Clubs in Dallam County and three 4-H Clubs in Hartley County. The main projects include Food and Nutrition, Clothing, Public Speaking (educational presentations, Share the Fun Skits, and public speaking), Consumer Life Skills, Leadership, Photography and Livestock projects, which include swine, steers, lambs, goats and rabbits.
The fundamental 4-H function of practical, “learn by doing” experiences encourages youth to experiment, innovate and think independently. 4-H programs are offered within community clubs.
The Dallam and Hartley Counties AgriLife Extension Agents are Rebekah Cathey, 4-H Agent, Mike Bragg, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, and Megan Becking, Family and Consumer Science Agent. Rebekah is married to Dusty and is a past 4-H’er from Gillespie County. Mike is married to LaReshia. Mike has been recycled, because he served as county agent for Dallam County for 14 years. Megan is married to Josh. Rosabelle Leal, 4-H Program Assistant and Ashley Thomas, Office Manager, complete the Dallam and Hartley Counties AgriLife Extension staff.
Dallam County has four 4-H Clubs representing 104 families. A family club started in early September. Dallam County has eight club managers, two 4-H Council advisors and 30 project leaders.
New projects introduced this year included the Food Challenge, Meats Judging, Dairy Judging, Grass and Soil Judging, Horticulture and Gardening, Parliamentary Procedure and Engineering Science and Technology.
The 4-H Farm is under renovation. There will be 30 pig huts and six lamb and goat huts with two animals per hut. It will be ready in October.
The 4-H theme for this coming year is “Look to the Future.” 4-H’ers are challenged to learn the 4-H Motto, Pledge and Prayer and to complete one project this year. Second and third year 4-H’ers are challenged to complete a 4-H record book this year, and senior-aged 4-H’ers are challenged to be active in their 4-H Club, make community service projects a priority.
4-H projects are the educational experiences that youth, who are members of 4-H, participate in. These can be club, county, and state supported projects, or they can be projects that 4-H members determine for themselves, research through various methods, and then conduct learning strategies in, such as a presentation, speech, workshops, field trips, and/or record book. These types of projects are call “self-directed” projects and are not supported with educational materials by the Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program. Other state or national 4-H programs may have resources to support projects.
Typically, all projects must consist of at least six learning experiences that last from 45 minutes to one hour and include the assistance of an adult or leader. Projects that are self-directed can include such topics as aerospace, automotive, electric, exotic animals, small engines, and small animals.
Leadership is a huge skill taught in 4-H. Starting from the first 4-H club meeting at the local level to national 4-H events. 4-H members may be seen serving in leadership roles. Through 4-H, youth learn how to conduct a meeting, how to speak in front of large groups, and how to help others become even more successful.
On the state level, the Texas 4-H Program is lead by several statewide groups. Each serves a special need to make the 4-H program as successful as it is. On the district, county, and local club levels, 4-H members serve as officers along with an adult who serves as an advisor or club/project leader. Usually, club officers are elected at the end of a 4-H year, or the very first of the year. Typically, a club will have at least 10 club officers.
As 4-H’ers become involved in their 4-H club, they will have opportunities to provide leadership in an elected, appointed, or promotion format. 4-H members are encouraged to develop and practice skills to become helpful or useful in their club, community, country and world. 4-H community service projects allow youth and adults to work together and to help others at the same time.
Community Service is defined as making a difference within the community, helping those that may not be able to help themselves and teaching others how to better themselves. Community Service does not include daily chores or family responsibilities. Community Service may be done as a club project or individually as part of a 4-H project.
To learn how to become a 4-H member or a volunteer leader, contact Rebekah Cathey, Dallam and Hartley Counties 4-H & Youth, at Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension, at 806-244-4434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
4-H is a community of six million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of National 4-H Headquarters (USDA). The 4-H programs are implemented by the 106 Land Grant Universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country. To learn more about the 4-H adventure visit http://texas4-h.tamu.edu/.