4-H prepares youth to be productive members of society by teaching life skills and career preparation and by instilling a sense of community responsibility. Hands-on learning opportunities allow youth to select projects and activities that fit their interests and encourage progressive skill development.
The impact of 4-H serves a larger, public good as it also benefits people who are not directly involved in the program. Through community service projects, developing leadership skills in tomorrow’s leaders, and preventing youth from engaging in risky behaviors, the entire community reaps benefits from a strong and vibrant 4-H program.
Youth need positive extracurricular activities where they can have fun with their peers while developing new skills and interests. Research indicates that youth who are involved in extracurricular activities directed by competent, caring adults are more likely to stay in school and less likely to engage in risky behavior.
Learning one’s strengths and how to use those strengths as one matures into adulthood is an important part of the development of youth.
4-H is growing in Perry County with 320 youth in grades K-12 enrolled in the 4-H club program in 2014. This accounts for over 14%of the youth in the county. In addition, over 60 adults serve as 4-H volunteers in Perry County. 4-H club enrollment for 2014 increased 6.4% from 2013, and the percent of youth who completed at least one project increased 4.6% during this same time period. In 2014, 902 projects were completed. This is a 16% increase from the previous year.
4-H members are asked to reflect upon their experience in 4-H. Over 90% of the respondents stated that 4-H taught them to get along with others, learn to make independent decisions, and prepared them for the future, while over 86% reported learning teamwork, empathy, leadership, and self-confidence. In addition over 91% tried new things and helped others in the community.
Youth stay in 4-H because they have fun and learn life skills and lessons. One youth stated that 4-H is “a fun group to be a part of, that you know you made a difference.” Another learned that “working hard makes you feel good about yourself.”