We live on the outskirts of a town of about 13,000 residents. However, we are very close to several larger towns. I remember the first county fair my husband attended with me to watch our daughter ‘show’ her pet rabbit. He saw kids running around with chickens and rabbits and was under the impression that our daughter must be the only one in the group who was not growing up on a farm. 4-H is not just for rural kids. While many 4-H youth do live in rural areas, there are clubs all over the country dedicated to youth development, even in urban areas.
The 4-H Pledge: “I pledge my head to clearer thinking; my heart to greater loyalty; my hands to larger service; and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world.”
The first time I heard a group of young girls reciting this 4-H pledge, hands over their hearts, I knew I had found a wonderful community for my 8-year old daughter.
During that first 4-H meeting I attended they were electing new officers for their club. I stepped outside for a moment to take a phone call. When I returned, the leader informed me my daughter had already volunteered to accept the position of club treasurer, if that was alright with me. I had to chuckle.
4-H Teaches Leadership
4-H involves youth and adults as partners in a democratic community. In this supportive atmosphere youth are encouraged to “spread their wings” and learn how to become the leaders of tomorrow.
4-H Builds Confidence
4-H members are encouraged to participate in a variety of events to help grow in confidence. For the past two years our daughter has participated in local county events, where she has given demonstrations in front of peers, parents and judges. She gave one demonstration on how to use a pottery wheel and another on traveling with dogs. She is gaining confidence in public speaking, which I feel is a valuable lesson she will carry with her throughout her life.
4-H is Fun!
Our daughter has made new friends, ridden horses, gone to her first overnight camp with a room full of other bubbly, giggling girls, gone swimming, learned about animals, roasted marshmallows and has a sense of ‘belonging’ to a group. I have enjoyed watching her bloom. The look of sheer joy on her face holding her first blue ribbon for showing her rabbit is permanently etched in my mind.
To learn more about a 4-H program in your area, visit www.4-h.org
County Fair Photo Credit
Terri blogs at: How to Nail Jello to a Tree