Celebrating National 4-H Week
By By Beth Randall / 4-H youth agent
Oct. 12, 2003
This week has been National 4-H Week, which is a time to promote 4-H and reflect on accomplishments made throughout the year.
As I have thought about National 4-H Week, I have reflected on how much 4-H has meant to me personally over the years.
I thought about my 4-H agent, who made a huge impact on my life by encouraging me to step outside of the comfort zone and try new things.
I thought about my very first time at 4-H Club Congress on the campus of Mississippi State University and the fear of finding the contest site, the shear panic of speaking in front of real people, and the excitement of winning.
I also thought about the thrill of being hired by the Extension Service as 4-H youth agent/home economist in Prentiss County. It was so exciting to finally have the opportunity to help 4-H'ers as I was helped years earlier.
Those first years as a 4-H youth agent were thrilling as well as terrifying. I found out that it was much harder being a 4-H agent than it was to be a 4-H'er. However, I would not change my career choice for any other.
As a 4-H agent I have the honor of assisting youth as they grow, learn, achieve goals and experience new things. It is the most rewarding experience to see the smile on the face of a child who has done something he or she thought was impossible just months earlier.
It has been my pleasure to serve the Lauderdale County 4-H program for eight years now. It seems like yesterday when I walked into my office for the first time. We have a great program in our county and it only gets stronger.
The Lauderdale County 4-H program offers a wide variety of activities and events for young people. 4-H youth development education offers youth the chance to develop skills and interests in learn-by-doing projects. 4-H has something for all youth.
The Mississippi 4-H program offers the traditional agricultural-related projects such as beef, sheep, swine and dairy while also offering projects that are keeping youth in tune with the times. Some of these projects include computer, health, photography, expressive arts and nutrition.
Through 4-H, young people also learn to cooperate with people of all ages and abide by group decisions. They learn how to conduct meetings. They learn to express themselves, to speak in front of a group and to direct their peers.
4-H also helps youth acquire knowledge that can enable them to develop such life skills such as communication, decision-making, leadership, interpersonal relations, community awareness and global understanding.
The 4-H slogan is "learn by doing" and this is done through individual project work and enhanced by local club meetings, county workshops, tours and field trips, as well as district and state events.
4-H helps youth learn more about the world in which they live and helps them become more productive citizens in their communities. Communities that foster the development of 4-H clubs will reap the benefits of their efforts.
The 4-H mission is accomplished through the involvement of parents, volunteer leaders and other adults who organize and conduct educational experiences in community, school and family settings. I extend a special thanks to all who make 4-H activities possible for our youth.
4-H'ers, their parents, volunteer leaders, Extension educators, 4-H Advisory Council members and 4-H alumni all work together to support the 4-H motto "To Make the Best Better."
I hope you will join us in an effort to make our 4-H program in Lauderdale one of the strongest programs in our state. It takes us all, working together for the benefit of our youth.
If you have access to a computer, check out the Mississippi State University Extension Service web site at www.msucares.com, then click on 4-H/Youth.
This site gives information on various 4-H projects, tells how 4-H alumni can be involved in 4-H, and gives general information about 4-H. For more information on 4-H, the number to call in Lauderdale County is 482-9764.
The Cloverleaf 4-H Club for ages 5-7 will meet Monday at 4 p.m. on the fifth floor of the Lauderdale County Courthouse Annex. The program will be on safety. Youth are invited to attend.