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NATIONAL 4-H WEEK -- Serving 1,200 youths: It’s ‘something to talk about’

When you think about 4-H you often think about the county fair, where youths exhibit their livestock projects and showcase their art, home environment and educational displays, but 4-H is so much more. 4-H supports youth from elementary school through high school with research-driven programming that enhances hands-on learning activities in the areas of science, citizenship and healthy living.

WHAT’S NEXT

National 4-H Week is Oct. 6-12

Oct. 15 at 5:30 p.m. — 4-H Family Orientation evening at OSU Extension Service

4-H has actually become so broad that many times you may not even realize that it is impacting your family. During 2012-13 4-H reached just over 1,200 Hood River County youths with programs ranging from after-school and in-school activities to 4-H clubs and summer camps.

Our goal is to teach youth life skills that will help shape future leaders and innovators by providing hands-on activities. Hood River County 4-H has 72 active adult volunteers who work to provide educational opportunities to youth through 4-H clubs. Club projects range from livestock, sewing and cooking to robotics, leadership and gardening.

Each year hundreds of youths delve into projects. One of the most exciting pieces is to watch the youths grow as they learn to build a fence for their goat or cook a dinner for their family. It is not about the final outcome of the project, but about the process of learning, experiencing and developing skills.

4-H also partners with local schools to create after-school and in-school opportunities around science, citizenship and healthy living. Programs include cooking, art, and science.

Through cooking activities students learn the process of creating a meal. Students have opportunities to create a casserole that can feed a whole family, practice using kitchen knives to dice, slice and chop, whip up some biscuits or even roll out a batch of cookies. Art introduces students to creativity, passion and community, while science focuses on the process of discovering an answer through problem solving.

Students may find themselves dissecting a pig heart, building a robot or simply creating a rocket that will make it across the field. No matter the lesson, youth are sure to have a hands-on experience that will last a lifetime and keep them coming back for more.

The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development shows youth engaged with 4-H are:

n Nearly two times more likely to get better grades in school;

n Nearly two times more likely to plan to go to college;

n 41 percent less likely to engage in risky behaviors; and

n 25 percent more likely to positively contribute to their families and communities.

Hood River County 4-H cooking participants report that it is the “best class ever! I’m joining this class forever!” and “I think that cooking class is a great way to learn fun and easy cooking skills. It’s a fun way to spend the afternoon and it gives you the chance to be more involved in the school and with other students.”

4-H is truly is so much more. It is about head, heart, hands and health. It is about community engagement and providing positive and engaging experiences for our youth. Now that’s something to talk about!

This week during National 4-H week we want to say thank you to the community for supporting Hood River County 4-H. From a simple donation to a full-time volunteer, we appreciate and commend you for all of your continuous support.

Join us for a 4-H Family Orientation evening on Oct. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the OSU Extension Conference room. If you are new to 4-H, interested in becoming involved with 4-H or simply want to learn about starting a 4-H club, this event is for you. Phone 541-386-3343 for more information.

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