Did you know that 4-H, the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, cultivates confident kids who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities? In Johnson County, 4-H is thriving.
With nearly 700 members, the Johnson County program, affiliated with K-State Research and Extension in Olathe, continues to grow and expand to reach new audiences.
National 4-H Week is Oct. 5 – 11, and the Johnson County program is currently enrolling for the new 4-H year. Early fall is the best time for new families to join 4-H. Families who join in the fall get the opportunity to experience the start of all new 4-H activities, such as electing club officers and selecting committee assignments.
4-H offers youth a one of-a-kind opportunity to gain lifelong skills through hands-on learning. The program is built on a foundation of three core areas: healthy living; citizenship; and science, technology, engineering and math. 4-H’ers gain skills in each of these areas throughout their 4-H experience through community service, projects and club involvement.
Why join 4-H?
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:
- Nearly four times more likely to contribute to their communities,
- Two times more likely to pursue healthy behaviors, and
- Two times more likely to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in the out-of-school time.
Who can join?
Full 4-H membership starts at age seven and concludes at 18. An introduction to 4-H is available for youth ages five and six through Cloverbuds. There are 19 different clubs throughout Johnson County. There is no membership fee to join. The youth program is strongly family orientated. Parents and siblings are welcome to attend all 4-H events.
Learning life skills by doing
Valuable lifelong skills such as communication, leadership and citizenship are gained through youth projects. The Johnson County 4-H program has many different avenues for youth to become engaged in their own individual passion.
Each member chooses their projects at the beginning of the new 4-H year. With over 30 projects to choose from, and even a self-determined category, the Johnson County 4-H program can accommodate a wide variety of interests. A few of the most popular projects include: rocketry, foods and nutrition, dog care and training, clothing and textiles, and photography.
In the self-determined category, youth are able to create a project by developing the what, why, when, where, who and how into an action plan designed by and for the member. A self-determined project might be a new or different project, or an expansion of a traditional project. A few of the self-determined projects which have been done in the county in the past include:
- bee keeping,
- entrepreneurship, and
4-H instills a strong work ethic by offering the opportunity to compete in a positive and supportive environment, interact with teen and adult mentors, and build lifelong relationships. 4-H also continues to give back to its members after membership ends. Alumni have the opportunity to apply for college scholarships to strengthen their lifelong learning habit.
Johnson County 4-H youth development has many different avenues for youth to become engaged in their own individual passion. The mission is to grow youth members into tomorrow's leaders.
The Johnson County 4-H program is the perfect choice for any youth looking to learn through doing. For more information about joining 4-H contact Tara Markley, county Extension agent, at 913-715-7000 or visit www.johnson.ksu.edu/4H.