County 4-H celebrates National 4-H Week

Published 5:18 am Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Special to The Post-Searchlight

October 7-13 is National 4-H Week, and Decatur 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.

Email newsletter signup

4-H, one of America’s largest non-formal education programs for youth, makes a major contribution to our nation by helping youth acquire knowledge and develop life skills that help them become self-directing, productive and contributing members of our society. 4-H is open to youth ages 9-19 and even pre-club members (pre-K to age 8) are included in the program.

Today, 4-H involves more than 6.6 million young people across the nation — from the city, from the farm and in between. The state of Georgia alone currently has more than 162,000 youth enrolled in 4-H. These students are learning practical skills in hundreds of projects. But more importantly, they are developing attitudes and habits that help them meet the issues of today and the challenges of tomorrow.

4-H not only encourages youngsters to “Make the Best Better,” but it gives them guidance to reach their goals. Decatur County 4-H strives to help its members build communication skills, responsibility, leadership skills and cooperation by participating in the numerous events that 4-H has to offer.

Decatur County 4-H offers numerous activities for student participation outside of in-school programming. 4-H has youth that exhibit lambs, swine, and cattle. We currently have a Forestry Judging Team, Wildlife Judging Team, and Land Judging Team. Students are able to evaluate livestock on the Livestock Judging Team and test their knowledge of poultry and egg science by participating on the Poultry Judging Team.

Additionally, critical thinking skills and product assessment skills are used as part of the Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging event. The 4-H Shotgun Team and 4-H Archery Team have also proven to be a hit among our 4-H’ers. Then, every summer, our 4-H’ers load the bus and head to camp at one of the five 4-H camps in Georgia. This past summer, Decatur County was fortunate to take a group of fifth- and sixth-grade 4-H’ers to camp at Jekyll Island 4-H Center.

Recent findings from Tufts University’s 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicate that young people in 4-H are three times more likely to contribute to their communities than youth not participating in 4-H. 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. In Decatur County, more than 495 members are involved in 4-H.

4-H youth are a living, breathing, culture-changing revolution for doing the right thing, breaking through obstacles and pushing our country forward by making a measurable difference right where they live. Find out how you can become involved by calling Ash Bailey, Teresa Adkins or Lindsey Hayes at the Decatur County Extension Office at (229) 248-3033.