Plan to attend the 4-H Open House

Make plans now to attend 4-H Open House on Friday, Nov. 7.

An open house event provides a prime opportunity to explore 4-H in general and check out more information concerning specific projects and clubs that will be represented.

If you are interested in learning more about 4-H ,then this is the place to be. There will be goodies for new members enrolling as well as 4-H merchandise for sale to all members and adults. So, join us at the fairgrounds 4-6 p.m. for a great time.

4-H is ...

4-H in the United States is a youth organization administered by the Cooperative Extension System of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with the mission of “engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development.” It is a community of young people across America learning citizenship, leadership, and life skills. The organization serves over 9 million members in the U.S. from ages 5 to 21 in almost 100,000 clubs. 4-H and related programs exist in over 80 countries around the world. These programs operate independently, as there is no international 4-H organization. However, through international exchanges, global education programs, and communications, they share a common bond in 4-H.

The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, and life skills of youth through mostly experiential learning programs. Though typically thought of as an agriculturally focused organization as a result of its history, 4-H today encourages members to learn about many topics such as youth leadership, youth-adult partnership, geographic information systems, and public speaking.

4-H programs can be found in three expansive mission mandates: Science, Engineering, and Technology (4-H SET), Citizenship, and Healthy Living. The 4-H program aims to educate youth in arts and sciences, and to encourage fellowship and service opportunities. With continued urban sprawl, 4-H continues to develop new projects for its members to study beyond agriculture and animal husbandry, including photography, conservation, cooking, public speaking, history, art, and other pursuits. The organization is often associated with summer camps, county fairs and state fairs. 4-H has spread out across the world, and regularly awards and sponsors the International Four-H Youth Exchange (IFYE), trips, and cultural events.

Although having embraced many new fields of endeavor over the years, 4-H retains a strong connection to its roots in agriculture and the associated values of thrift, invention, education, compassion, conservation, encouragement, service, and general happiness and well-being.

The foundations of 4-H began around the start of the twentieth century, with the work of several people in different parts of the U.S. The focal point of 4-H has been the idea of practical and “hands-on” learning, which came from the desire to make public school education more connected to rural life. Early programs tied both public and private resources together to benefit rural youth. During this time, researchers at experiment stations of the land-grant universities and USDA saw that adults in the farming community did not readily accept new agricultural discoveries. But, educators found that youth would “experiment” with these new ideas and then share their experiences and successes with the adults. Thus rural youth programs became a way to introduce new agriculture technology to the adults.

Through the program’s tie to land-grant institutions of higher education, 4-H academic staff are responsible for advancing the field of youth development. Professional academic staff are committed to innovation, the creation of new knowledge, and the dissemination of new forms of program practice. Youth development research is undertaken in a variety of forms including program evaluation, applied research, and introduction of new programs.

Program delivery relies heavily on a large volunteer corps. Volunteers may serve in a variety of roles. Some are project leaders who teach youth skills and knowledge in an area of interest. Others are unit or community club leaders who organize clubs, groups, camps, and other programs. Resource leaders are available to provide information and expertise. 4-H volunteers work under the direction of professional staff to plan and conduct activities and events, develop and maintain educational programs, and secure resources in support of the program.

If you would like to learn more about 4-H programs in Archuleta County contact the Extension Office at 264-5931 or check us out on the Web at www.archuleta.colostate.edu.