Pharos-Tribune

February 14, 2013

KORNIAK: 4-H participation creates successful citizens

By Lynn Korniak
Guest Columnist

— The 2013 4-H program is under way statewide. If your child is in the third or fourth grades in Cass County, they should have brought home some information about 4-H (Mini 4-H for first- and second-graders).

4-H is the largest youth organization in this country. Over 150,000 of Indiana’s youths, grades 3-12, are learning firsthand about leadership, responsibility, competition and fun in the state 4-H program. In addition, over 75,000 Indiana children second grade and under, participate in hands-on learning activities through the Mini 4-H , Exploring 4-H, and school enrichment programs.  The learn-by-doing concept provides all youths with several unique learning opportunities.

4-H is a non-formal youth development education program of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service. Programs are conducted in all 92 counties, and participants benefit from the experience and guidance of more than 15,000 adult volunteer leaders and professional staff.

One way young people gain knowledge and skills necessary to become successful citizens is through participation in 4-H. As participants, they gain respect for themselves and others, learn how to use technology, explore career and leisure time opportunities, develop leadership and citizenship skills and acquire good health habits.

Over 60 projects are offered statewide but these are some of the popular ones in Cass County: rabbits, dog obedience, bicycle, food and nutrition, aerospace, photography, wildlife, collections, gift-wrapping, crafts, pocket pets, and shooting sports, a firearm safety project. Projects and activities cover a wide range of subject areas and offer something for youth in communities of every size.

The 4-H program provides a variety of activities as well. 4-H is more than doing a project for the fair. Many youth get involved in doing several 4-H events across the state including, 4-H fashion revue modeling, 4-H share-the-fun skits, tractor driving contest, 4-H demonstration and public speaking, 4-H camp, state 4-H band and state 4-H chorus, 4-H junior leader conference, 4-H Roundup trip, state fair leadership conference, citizenship Washington focus trip to Washington, D.C., and many others. You might even remember a couple years ago when Jacob Fisher from Logansport participated in a 4-H International Exchange trip to Australia for four weeks in the summer! Yes, 4-H is international, too.

The 4-H program is for young men and women regardless of where they live, noting that 30 percent of Indiana’s membership now resides in major cities and 20 percent in towns with populations of 10,000 to 50,000. This is not just a program for youth in small towns and rural areas.

To be involved in the Cass County 4-H program for 2013, youth need to complete a 4-H enrollment form by March 1. Enrollment forms are available at the Cass County Extension Office on the third floor of the county government building, also available from a 4-H leader, or on the Cass County Extension website, www.ag.purdue.edu/counties/cass, by clicking on “Youth Development.”

Families can now enroll in 4-H online at www.four-h.purdue.edu/enroll. Parents interested in enrolling a child in 4-H or learning more about the program are encouraged to contact the Cass County Extension Office, 753-7750, or a 4-H Leader in their area. A 4-H information night will be 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Cloverleaf Complex at the Cass County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Lynn Korniak is the 4-H youth extension educator for Cass County.