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4-H was in action during 2007

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It was a pleasure to have Don Henderson and his wife stop by for a cup of coffee last week. He had called the prior week to let me know he was scheduled to be in town. Don is with the Missouri 4-H Foundation and had served as director prior to going part time.

He brought me up to date on many of my former co-workers and others active in Missouri 4-H.

It was good to get the reports as it was good working with them during my career in extension. He also discussed some of the things that the foundation is accomplishing and they are great accomplishments.

He left a copy of the University of Missouri 4-H Center for Youth Development 2007 Annual Report. The report is only a snapshot of the 4-H program and what I am sharing with you from the report is only a snapshot of the report.

As the only youth program affiliated with the university, 4-H brings both the content and the science of youth development to the citizens of Missouri. According to Dr. Ina Metzger Linville, interim director, University of Missouri 4-H Center for Youth Development, 4-H reaches one in 10 young people, ages 5 to 18.

In the report she said, "America is facing a significant challenge. Young people will need science, engineering and technology skills to compete in the global economy. MU Extension 4-H is meeting this challenge. More than 40,000 youth were enrolled in SET activities. Whether it is learning about plant or animal sciences, the environment, robotics, digital media, or family and consumer sciences, young people gain competence with hands on experiences.

"Volunteers are essential. Last year, 11,385 volunteers gave their time and talents to MU Extension 4-H programs. Using a conservative estimate of 208 hours per volunteer, their contributions are valued at $38 million, according to the Independent Sector."

It is always interesting to see the enrollments by projects. Projects listed on the top 10 may come as a surprise to many. The project in 2007 with the greatest enrollment for the year was shooting sports with 5,208 members. The other project in the top 10 were as follows, arts and crafts, horsemanship, photography, beef, foods, swine, wood science, cake decorating and clothing construction. There were 2,386 enrolled in the clover kids project.

A group of 4-H members are involved in the Columbia area with a Habitat for Humanity project. Eleven teens are tackling interior design, energy efficiency, landscaping, nutrition and other areas with the help of University of Missouri Extension faculty.

At Lamar High School, 16 students are more aware of the government, business and social sectors of their community after participating in the youth EXCEL Leadership 101 program. These teens are involved in making Lamar a better place to live. This is an example of how leadership activities encourage 4-H'ers to participate in their communities.

4-Hers gain invaluable hands-on experience from learning by doing. An example of this is that 4-H members learn the value of personal integrity by producing a quality product. Those enrolled in food production projects, including beef and dairy cattle, sheep, swine, dairy and meat goats, rabbits and poultry must complete Show Me Quality Assurance certification by this June. More than 2,600 members have completed the certification. The hands-on training includes topics, such as managing medication, administering injections, and space and water needs.

Photography has become a popular 4-H project, allowing members on express their creativity and share their work with others as in the 2008 Nationwide Insurance calendar.

The State 4-H Council has blazed a new path by working hard to strengthen local ties by launching new initiative -- Missouri Youth 4-H Network. More than 2,000 volunteers have completed a new training program, which provides tools for working successfully with 4-H members. Members of 4-H were almost twice as likely to report spending time out of school on science and technology according to preliminary findings from the national 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development.

An important partner in the 4-H program is the Missouri 4-H Foundation. The board consists of dedicated members and through the foundation private funding, for a number of programs and scholarships is provided.

Robert E. "Bud" Hertzog, chairman says, "The Missouri 4-H Foundation continues to make significant progress in taking the Foundation in a new direction that will help us to grow and support 4-H members for generations to come, our foundation staff is a strong and committed group who continue to set new goals, and seek new opportunities to ensure our success. At a fast pace, we have made great strides."

Listed among those investing in the foundation this past year from this area are the Vernon County 4-H Council, the Sac Osage Electric Cooperative, and West Point 4-H Club. Also listed is a former leader of the Walker 4-H Club and a long time supporter, Opal M. Gould.

Investing in the Missouri 4-H Foundation is a good way to invest in youth.

Additional information about the Missouri 4-H Foundation may be obtained by calling toll-free in Missouri (800) 642-8041.

The Web site is 4h.missouri.edu.

Leonard Ernsbarger
Leonard At Large