Monday, October 5, 2015

Orange County Celebrates National 4-H Week October 4-10

October 4-10 is National 4-H week, and Orange County is celebrating the 4-H youth who have made an impact on the community, and are stepping up to the challenges of a complex and changing world.
As the youth development program of the Cooperative Extension System of land-grant universities, 4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, empowering six million young people throughout the United States.  Through America’s 110 land-grant universities and its Cooperative Extension System, 4-H reaches every corner of our nation- from urban neighborhoods to suburban schoolyards to rural farming communities.  With a network of more than 6 million youth, 611,800 volunteers, 3,500 professionals, and more than 25 million alumni, 4-H helps shape youth to move our country and the world forward in ways that no other youth organization can.
Recent findings from Tufts University's 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicate that young people in 4-H are four times more likely to contribute to their communities than youth not participating in 4-H; two times more likely to be civically active; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to participate in Science, Engineering, and Computer Technology programs during out-of-school time; and 4-H girls are two times more likely to take part in science programs compared to girls in other out-of-school time activities. Notably, the Tufts research discovered that the structured learning, encouragement and adult mentoring that 4-H'ers receive play a vital role in helping them actively contribute to their communities
Also during National 4-H Week, hundreds of thousands of youth from all around the nation will complete a single, innovative experiment on 4-H National Youth Science Day, which will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015.  This year’s experiment, Motion Commotion, will be conducted by thousands of kids across the nation as they learn about physics, speed, and safety.  4-H is dedicated to providing the hands-on experience in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) to give kids the life skills they need to succeed today and the career readiness to succeed tomorrow. 
In addition to science, 4-H has a huge focus on citizenship.   4-H Citizenship programs empower young people to be well-informed citizens who are actively engaged in their communities and the world.  In Orange, 4-Hers visit the state capitol each February to visit with local legislators and tell them about their 4-H experiences.  4-H members have also participated in Citizenship Washington Focus- a weeklong, national event held in Washington, D.C., where 4-Hers  are able to strengthen their communication, leadership, and citizenship skills on a national level  and understand the importance of civic and social responsibilities as they relate to the development of better citizens and leaders. 
The caring support of adult volunteers and mentors inspires young people in 4-H to work collaboratively, take the lead on their own projects, and set and achieve goals with confidence. 
In Orange County, there are 12 4-H clubs for youth to be involved in.  There are 9 clubs for youth ages 9-19 and 3 clubs for youth ages 5-8.  Clubs range from Archery, Goats, Crazy Pets, Livestock, two horse clubs, and more!  There is no cost to join 4-H, but there may be fees to participate in some 4-H activities.  Save the date! 4-H Camp will be held at Northern Virginia 4-H Center in Front Royal June 12-16, 2016.  In-person camp sign-ups will begin March 30 at the Orange Extension Office. 
October is the beginning of the 4-H year, so now is the perfect time to join and get involved!