Tuesday, January 21, 2014

4-H: Learning and Leadership

4H opportunities

4-H offers many benefits to students of all education venues.

Today’s 4-H program is similar to, but different from the program you may have known growing up.



In 4-H, members select one or more project areas that interest them.  This includes everything from cows and cooking to photography and technology, and everything in between.

With every project, students are encouraged to:

-set goals (what do they want to do or learn with the project);
-keep records (what did they do and learn);
-give talks and demonstrations (teach others what they are learning);
-and enter competitions related to their project.

At the end of the year, members  can submit a Record Book that includes the story of their main projects for the year.  The Record Books are judged against other books in the same project area. Senior members who submit record books are eligible for 4-H scholarships.

Goal setting and record keeping skills alone would make 4-H a worthwhile endeavor, but students are also given the opportunity to be club officers at the local, county, state, and national level.  Club officers learn to plan the monthly meetings and run the meetings using standard parliamentary procedure.

4-H encourages all members to be leaders as well as participate in community service activities.

When my girls were on the county 4-H Livestock Judging Team, they spent many hours honing their public speaking skills to enable them to talk to the judges and present reasons for their animal placement. This involved enough hours to give them a Public Speaking credit on their transcripts.  


4-H For High School Credit

Many of the 4-H projects involve enough time that you could use them for course credit.  Curriculum is available from the National 4-H Center or your local county extension office.

One of my daughters participated in the 4-H Vet Tech Science Program.  It is a 2-year program that would prepare her to be a vet tech.  She attended the meetings and did the lessons.  She apprenticed with a horse vet and a small animal vet, but chose not to follow the vet tech or veterinarian path.  This was time well spent finding out before college that she would rather work with people than animals.

My children have participated in a variety of 4-H projects and competitions.  I don’t know of any other club or organization that provides the variety of opportunities and life skills to students.  

For homeschoolers, 4-H can be used for electives credit.  It also provides essential leadership and community service opportunities.

For whatever reason, fewer high school students participate in 4-H activities, so when it comes to 4-H scholarships, there is less competition.  Check this website http://texas4-h.tamu.edu/scholarships for scholarship requirements, or search for the information for your state.

Contact your local county extension office for 4-H clubs in your area.



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