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SPOTLIGHT
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4-H-and the community

Published on -2/15/2013, 12:27 PM

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There are wonderful things that happen in a community when youth and adults work together. Kansas 4-H promotes learning by doing and is one of the largest youth-adult partnership organizations that exist in our state. I am a 4-H parent and volunteer who finds 4-H enrichment pivotal to my children thriving in our society today.

What is 4-H? 4-H is a youth organization with a membership in Kansas that numbers more than 70,000. 4-H works with all youth age5 through 18, as well as their families. 4-H is organized into clubs with officers and leaders. Ellis County has eight active clubs at this time. There are more than 6,000 volunteers that share their time within the Kansas- 4-H program. Projects range from foods and nutrition to robotics and rocketry. There is something for youth interested in livestock, woodworking, geology and horticulture. The possibilities are endless. 4-H allows young people to explore their world, capture their interests and invites adults to share their talents to foster a cooperative learning experience.

Why is 4-H important to our community? 4-H develops life skills through projects and materials designed to promote the four H's: Head, Heart, Hands and Health. Head concentrates on managing and thinking. Heart focuses on relating and caring. Hands symbolize giving and working. Health promotes better living. Embracing these ideals helps youth to develop a positive self concept, a concern for their community, decision making skills and healthy social relationships. Youth involved in 4-H have been shown to have educational success in school and be more likely to pursue future education. 4-H youth are active in their communities and are committed to improvement through community service projects. Many employers seek out 4-H alumni because of their work ethic and community involvement. Youth is the most important resource a community can have. 4-H strengthens that resource and helps children become productive members of society.

How can we support the success of our youth? 4-H is a publicly funded organization. Funding comes from the federal, state and local governments. It is vital that we let our political leaders know our value for the youth of our community by thanking them for their support and advocacy concerning the Kansas 4-H program. It is equally as vital for new families to get involved, existing families to stay involved and volunteers share their talents to strengthen the social development of our children.

Life is busy these days. We all have schedules to keep. Time is precious but so are our young people. If you are a family looking for an activity you can participate in with your children, 4-H is the answer. I encourage the curious to contact your local extension office to get information on how to get involved. I sincerely thank the volunteers within the 4-H organization and community as well as our local and state leaders who make the funding possible for 4-H to succeed.

4-H has made a positive impact on my family. I encourage others to see what 4-H can do for you,

Michelle Thacker

Hays

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