A popular Wright County 4-H event has been renamed to attract new audiences and new members to the nation’s largest youth development organization.
According to Nick Neaton, Wright County University of Minnesota Extension 4-H Program Coordinator, Each year, Wright County 4-H hosts a project day.
Typically, the event has been tagged with that simple moniker, but this year, the event name has been changed to “Explore 4-H Day,” Neaton said.
“Explore 4-H” Day is a fun way to check out 4-H,” Neaton said. Everyone is welcome to attend “Explore 4-H Day” from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at Zion Lutheran Church, 1200 Highway 25 S. in Buffalo. The free event is a great way to learn about 4-H through hands-on learning experiences, Neaton said.
Wright County 4-H has more than 600 members in its 24 clubs across the county, Neaton said, adding 4-H is a positive youth-development organization.
“Some of our most popular 4-H project areas include photography, needle arts, food and nutrition, horse, animal science, and leadership,” Neaton said.
Other Wright County 4-H clubs get involved in a range of activities. According to a “Wright County 4-H Clubs At A Glance” fact sheet posted on the Wright County Extension website, Albion Aces members are involved in shooting sports, poultry, photography, foods, horse, dog, rabbit, needlework project areas.
The Clever Clovers focuses on county or state-wide activities so kids can experience 4-H at a larger level. The Lucky Loons is primarily composed of home-educated families, and the FarSide 4-Hers focus only on the 4-H horse project. Unlike other clubs, they work on riding practice and horse project education.
Since its humble beginnings more than 100 years ago, 4-H has grown to become the nation’s largest youth development organization. According to the organization’s national website, the 4-H idea is simple: help young people and their families gain the skills they need to be proactive forces in their communities’ and develop ideas for a more innovative economy. That idea was the catalyst to begin the 4-H movement, and those values continue today.
As one of the first youth development organizations in America, 4-H opened the door for young people to learn leadership skills and explore ways to give back.
The seed of the 4-H idea of practical and “hands-on” learning came from the desire to make public school education more connected to country life.
When Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 and created the Cooperative Extension System at USDA, it included work of various boys’ and girls’ clubs involved with agriculture, home economics and related subjects, which effectively nationalized the 4-H organization. By 1924, these clubs became organized as 4-H clubs, and the clover emblem was adopted. Today, 4-H has an expansive reach, serving youth in rural, urban, and suburban communities in every state across the nation. Youth currently in 4-H are tackling top issues such as global food security, climate change, sustainable energy and childhood obesity.
Companies in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, technology, education seek out 4-H youth to join the ranks of their most successful employees. In addition, Distinguished 4-H alumni work in different fields such as business and industry, communications, education, entertainment, sports and public service.
Youth of all ages are welcome to attend the Jan. 21 Wright County open house. “Explore 4-H Day” activities will include the following: three 4-H science experiments; fun food and nutrition with pancakes; knitting and a sewing project; a physical activity course; cupcake decorating; a window herb garden; a service project and more. Neaton said 4-H junior and adult leaders will guide participants through the various activities. This event is designed for the whole family; everyone is welcome. Membership in 4-H or pre-registration are not required. For information, contact Wright County Extension at 763-682-7394.
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