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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Join the club

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Aspire to be a fashionista? Have your kids just convinced you to get a pet? Do your kids want to garden but you have a brown thumb? Life's little questions aren't meant to be answered alone. Join 4-H, the club of families who share in teaching kids practical things like pet care, growing gardens or designing clothing and important values like responsibility. Whether you're in the city or country, join 4-H and we'll tackle life's little questions together. With more than 30 projects available, there is no doubt your kids will find something they're interested in.

Oct. 7-13 is National 4-H Week, and the Southwind Extension District in Allen, Bourbon and Neosho counties are celebrating the 4-H youth who have made an impact on the community, and are stepping up to the challenges of a complex and changing world.

We can tell you how great 4-H is, but now the research tells the story. Students participating in 4-H report higher educational achievement and academic confidence, are nearly two times more likely to attend college and more likely to pursue future courses or a career in science, engineering or computer technology.

Recent findings from Tufts University's 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicate that young people in 4-H are three times more likely to contribute to their communities than youth not participating in 4-H. Notably, the Tufts research discovered that the structured learning, encouragement and adult mentoring that 4-H'ers receive play a vital role in helping them actively contribute to their communities. In the Southwind District, more than 560 4-H members and many more volunteers are involved in 4-H.

Four-H teaches skills that last a lifetime, and leadership is at the forefront. Other life skills include -- a positive self-concept, an inquiring mind, concern for the community, healthy interpersonal relationships, and sound decision making. Four-H is more than a single game or activity. Your kids will learn to speak in front of a group, handle responsibility, help their community, try new things, work with others and make good decisions.

The fundamental 4-H ideal of practical, "learn by doing" experiences encourage youth to experiment, innovate and think independently. 4-H programs are offered through school-based, after-school and camp settings and within community clubs. Four-H isn't just about cooking and sewing or showing an animal. Nowadays, members can choose to gain valuable leadership experiences while enhancing life skills. In our local 4-H programs, it is critical that the entire family be involved. Kids can choose from dozens of activities related to science, the arts, citizenship, fitness and more.

They can learn to train their dog, build a robot, run a meeting, or raise an animal. Additionally, senior 4-H members are eligible for local and state scholarships. Along the way, we have a lot of fun, too, especially at 4-H Camp at Rock Springs.

Raising great kids is a challenging task, but it's easier when you have a team of people behind you. 4-H clubs are groups of families that do just that. Through working together, families share knowledge and interests to help kids learn practical skills and important values. If you have a child between the ages 7 and 18, a 4-H club in the Southwind District is excited to welcome you to the fold. Learn more at www.joinkansas4-h.org or www.southwind.ksu.edu.

Carla Nemecek
Agriculture Agent, Southwind Extension District
Editor's Note: Carla Nemecek is a K-State Research and Extension agriculture and 4-H extension agent assigned to Southwind Extension District -- Iola Office, Allen County. She may be reached at the Iola office by calling (620) 365-2242.