How Do I Get My Child More Involved in 4-H?
HOW DO I GET MY CHILD MORE INVOLVED IN 4-H?
What a great question. Look over our calendar online at vance.ces.ncsu.edu for starters to see if there is anything already on the calendar that they are interested in. I am just now planning a lot of the programs for this year so keep a watch on the calendar, as it will be updated as I continue planning.
If I wanted my child to become more involved in 4-H, I would look for ways they could be involved on a regular basis or in a long-term program. Every organization wants your child to do everything they offer. However, the 4-H program is so broad and offers many opportunities for a child to explore many things within the framework of one organization.
The best ongoing model for involvement is a club. A 4-H club is 5 youth and at least 1 adult leader. A club can be specific. For example, someone could start a 4-H shooting sports club. 4-H has an extensive shooting sports program with competitions held annually. Or you could start a community club that explores whatever the club members decide they want to learn about. I have 4-H curriculum guides with planned hands-on activities on just about any subject you can think of. Aerospace, robotics, cooking, sewing, woodworking, electricity, all types of animals, hiking and camping, etc. to name just a few.
There are other 4-H annual programs in which youth can participate.
- Presentation Program – Youth attend a workshop and learn how to make a 5-12 minute illustrated presentation or demonstration on a topic of their choice. They then present it at County Activity Day where they receive positive feedback from a panel of judges. Next they present at District Activity Day, which will be in Granville County this year on June 19th. If they are gold winners there, they present at NC 4-H Congress at NCSU on July 16th.
- The goal of the 4-H presentation program is to prepare young people to be successful when making presentations at school and later at work and to teach them to organize their thoughts to better communicate when in interviews for college entrance, college scholarships and jobs, etc. Over 80% of adults have a fear of public speaking. As Barney Fife of Mayberry fame would say, “Let’s nip it in the bud”.
- Annual Pullet Chain – Youth and parents attend an orientation workshop to learn how to raise poultry. Two new breeds are chosen each year. In May, participants receive day old chicks of the breed they choose and raise the birds until Nov. when the pullet chain ends with a show and the auction of 3 of the birds raised. There are cash prizes, trophies and other awards and the 4-Her receives half of the auction proceeds from the sale of their pullets. This is a wonderful first animal science project for a 4-Her as chickens grow very quickly-almost instant gratification- and the birds remain small enough for even the Cloverbuds to handle well.
- Annual Livestock Program – Youth attend workshops to learn how to select, care for and show animals including wool and meat sheep, dairy and meat goats, and cattle. Various shows throughout the year.
- Vance County 4-H Teen Council – Youth ages 13-18 are invited to participate on this teen council. This is a new program for Vance County 4-H begun in May of 2011. This group is part advisory for me and aids me in program planning as well as doing fun things like designing last year’s Summer Fun tee shirt. Programs consist of topics the teens are interested in as well as things 4-H thinks they should know. For example, they conduct their meetings using Parliamentary Procedure. They are also great ambassadors for 4-H in the community and have begun their first service project with more to follow.
- Citizenship NC Focus – Two 4-H teens from each county travel to Raleigh to learn about becoming citizen leaders. Participants will meet one on one with their legislators at the legislature, attend workshops and develop a citizenship project that they will come back to our community and implement.
- Summer Camping Program – Nine to twelve years old-attend as a regular camper. Thirteen-fourteen years old-attend as an Adventurer or Trekker. Fifteen-seventeen years old-participate in the LIT (Leader in Training) program that prepares young people to be camp counselors. Being a camp counselor is a wonderful summer job.
- NC 4-H Electric Program – Annual program for youth interested in learning more about how electricity works and exploring careers in engineering. Youth attend electric workshops in the county and work on an electric curriculum guide on their own-supervised by parents or me. The program culminates annually with NC 4-H Electric Congress. This 3-day event is held on a different college campus each year and is sponsored by NC electric companies so it is FREE to participants. Youth participate in workshops and there is always a fun side trip such as white water rafting or a riverboat cruise, depending on where the event is held. Again all expenses, including transportation and side trips, are paid for participants. Always held the 2nd week of July.
- NC 4-H Congress – Culmination of the 4-H program year when 4-Hers from all over the state stay on campus at NC State University, eat in the dining hall, attend leadership and service workshops, elect new state 4-H officers and work side by side with other 4-Hers in a huge service project. Always held the 3rd week of July.
- Delegate to the NC Assoc. of County Commissioners annual conference - Two years ago, the NCACC invited NC 4-H to assist them in determining what the top 10 issues are facing NC teens (year 1) and some possible solutions to these issue (year 2). Each county in NC sends one teen to this event. It has been a wonderful partnership showcasing our excellent 4-H youth. It is a wonderful youth-adult partnership with lots of give and take and building of respect on both sides.
- District Events – All year long there are district events such as Winterfest (11 years and up), District Teen Retreat, State Council Conference, and other events. The focus of the 4-H teen program is leadership and life skills to prepare youth for college and the workforce. District officers are elected at these events.
- AIRE – Program for teens that teaches them how to complete an Application, Interview, Resume, and Essay. This is a competitive program for teens and the rewards are free trips to various national 4-H events.
- Project Records – There are 4-H curriculum guides in 56 subject areas. In other words, there is a curriculum guide on any subject your child is interested in probably. Youth can get a curriculum guide from the 4-H office and work in it independently or in a club setting. Then the 4-Her uses a template to complete a project record. Sections include your 4-H plan for the year, goals, what you learned from your project, express yourself-a sort of scrapbook section, and your 4-H story. It is short and teaches youth how to set goals, make a plan, keep records, and express themselves creatively. This is a competition program and records are judged at the county and district (actually state) level with prizes including medals and money depending on the category.
- 4-H Scholarship Program – College scholarships are available to 4-Hers and the greater your 4-H involvement, the greater your chance of receiving a scholarship, all other things being equal.
All competitive programs in 4-H are for youth 9-18 years old. For those 5 to 8 years old, everyone receives the same recognition. For example, Cloverbuds (5-8 years old) will all receive blue ribbons for their project records with judges’ comments on what they can improve upon. The other judging categories would be 9-10, 11-12, 13-15, and 16-18 years old and there would be a first, second and third place prize in each category.
Remember: everything done in 4-H is age-appropriate and 4-Hers will only be in competition with others their own age.
I am sure that I have forgotten something but these are the programs in which Vance County has youth participating. Please let me know if you need more information or would like to sign anyone up for anything.
Pam Jones, Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development, Vance County