During National 4-H Week, held Oct. 4-12, West Virginia youths have the opportunity to connect with a network of more than 85,000 of their peers by joining West Virginia’s statewide 4-H program, a free youth development program of the West Virginia University Extension Service.
West Virginia 4-H builds leadership skills, strengthens communities and emphasizes a “learn by doing” approach to education. 4-H clubs are open to anyone between the ages of 9 and 21. In many areas, children as young as 5 can join a pre-4-H program called Cloverbuds. Older members can become active in any of the seven collegiate 4-H clubs in the state.
In celebration of National 4-H Week, the National 4-H Council and global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin will host National Youth Science Day, where youths can participate in introductory courses, on-site training and scientific experiments such as building rockets. Similar events that promote the principles of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as related careers, will be happening across the nation as youths are encouraged to join throughout the week.
According to Brent Clark, WVU Extension Service’s 4-H Youth Development interim program director, 4-H is an opportunity for youths in the Mountain State to join an organization that is leading the way in positive youth development and leadership.
“Our 4-H motto is to ‘make the best better,’ and that’s just what our members do,” said Clark. “Every day, 4-H youths, volunteers, staff members and alumni are changing the world around them thanks to the skills they’ve gained from 4-H programs.”
The program focuses on developing leadership skills by building self-esteem and character, fostering citizenship and teaching healthy habits. A national study of the learn by doing approach shows that on average, 4-H’ers achieve higher grades in school, are less likely to participate in risky behaviors associated with young adulthood, and are more likely to pursue careers in science, engineering or computer technology.
In summer camps and programs across the state, West Virginia 4-H’ers are building robots, helping the environment, exploring math and science, traveling around the globe and fostering healthy lifestyles.
“Our members are leaders in their communities,” said Clark. “In its truest form, West Virginia 4-H is a large family dedicated to leaving a lasting and positive effect on the world around us.”
For more information on 4-H opportunities in your community, contact your local county office of the WVU Extension Service or visit www.ext.wvu.edu.
CONTACT: Cassie Thomas, WVU Extension Service
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