The week of Oct. 5-11 is National 4-H Week with the theme of "Keeping it Green." As you might expect, this means a number of different things. The program keeps evolving by providing programs that are timely and important for the development of boys and girls in society.
As you probably know green is one of the 4-H colors. I have often told you that my blood is green -- 4-H green. However, it is more than just my blood that is green. There are a number of 4-H topics relating to environmental issues.
Among others, the "Keeping it Green" theme demonstrates how 4-H is connecting old ideas with new ones to teach the youth environmental stewardship, as well as other science related issues. Another way of saying it, is that it is relevant to our society.
I have told you many times that it has been my observation that 4-H members gain much from being involved in 4-H. Not only do the members gain from the experience, but adult volunteers also gain from being involved with the program. Many families gain much from the experience.
My awareness of the program and its importance is backed up by national and state studies. A ground-breaking national study has confirmed what we already knew: Kids who are active 4-H members excel in leadership and volunteer service. Equally important, active 4-H'ers report fewer unhealthy behaviors such as drinking, smoking and other drug use. That's good news for parents, community leaders and citizens. These are just a few of the points presented by the studies that prove what teachers and many others have said about the benefits of 4-H.
Vernon County members will be joining with other 4-H members in Missouri and across the nation in promoting 4-H and giving more publicity to this special youth program. You will be hearing special PSA's presented on the radio next week as well as special articles in the paper.
Carol Parmenter, 4-H youth specialist said that there will be 10-12 window displays in Vernon County that will portray what 4-H members are gaining from 4-H and also to promote this youth development program.
According to Carol, about 1,500 people are expected for the annual chicken barbecue to be held this Saturday night. This is the major fund raising event for the Vernon County 4-H Council. She is hopeful that this event will fund the programs as usual. The chicken barbecue dinner is a tradition in Vernon County and will be a good place to eat this Saturday evening. For those eating there, there will be good fellowship as well as good food. Take outs will also be available. Many of us look forward to this special event and look forward to eating a great meal.
Although the National 4-H Week does not start until Sunday, this event is a great kick-off for the week.
Ben Gallop, state 4-H youth development specialist, shared a statement about National 4-H Week, "4-Hers from all across Missouri will celebrate National 4-H week, Oct. 5 --11, 2008."
This year's theme, 'Keeping it Green', is timely and appropriate, said Dr. Ina Linville, interim state 4-H Program Leader. Being good stewards of our resources is a long standing 4-H philosophy. She grants that technologies are changing, but adds 4-H is staying current. However, Linville said that our goal to create environments where members have an opportunity to 'value add' to their projects and learn life skills just as viable today as they were 100 years ago."
The 4-H Clover is a catalog of Missouri 4-H projects, programs, and publications. It is designed to help volunteers, members and their families select projects and activities. It will also help in setting goals, which is an important part of 4-H.
This publication gives a great amount of information about 4-H. It has a list of 4-H projects and activities. Each member is required to enroll in at least one of the projects. 4-H activities are defined as group projects, selected and carried out by all members of a club or group. As with projects, new activities have been added to the list over the years.
The program still maintains many of the original 4-H projects, such as beef, clothing, foods and swine. Many new projects are now included in the program, offering interesting subjects for youth today, including conservation, entrepreneurship, environmental sciences, geospatial, global education and others. There are a great number of interesting projects. Some are better suited for exhibiting than others. Still, it is important to remember in 4- H that exhibiting is a means to an end and not an end in itself. Too often it becomes the end, instead of the means to an end.
There are many ways that you and your family can get involved. It is tuly a great program and we are fortunate to have one of the best 4-H programs in the state in Vernon County.
For additional information contact a 4-H leader in your community or the University of Missouri Extension Center at (417) 448-2560.