National 4-H Week celebrates positive youth development opportunities
Every year, National 4-H Week sees millions of youth, parents, volunteers and alumni come together to celebrate the many positive youth development opportunities offered by 4-H. The theme for this year’s National 4-H Week, Find your spark, is a campaign that was created by National 4-H Council to rally support for Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program and identify solutions to eliminate the opportunity gap that affects 55 million kids across America.
With so many children struggling to reach their full potential, 4-H believes that young people, in partnership with adults, can play a key role in creating a more promising and equitable future for youth, families and communities across the country. In 4-H, we believe every child should have an equal opportunity to succeed and we believe every child should have the skills they need to make a difference in the world.
Columbia County 4-H will observe National 4-H Week this year by highlighting some of the inspirational 4-H youth in our community who are working tirelessly to support each other and their communities. Throughout the week, 4-H’ers will show their 4-H spirit in many ways. Youth may even carry community service projects as they work to make the best better!
There are seven days in National 4-H week and each has a corresponding theme here in Columbia County. Thankful Sunday, Make it Monday, Try it Tuesday, Wear Green Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, Favorite Project Friday and Service Saturday.
According to Pat Wagner, Columbia County 4-H Positive Youth Development Educator, “For more than a century, Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development has worked to engage youth participants throughout the state in leadership, training, community-building experiences and experiential-learning opportunities to better their own lives and the lives of the people around them. For many youth, 4-H is the first class they take at the UW!”
In Columbia County nearly 300 4-H youth and 100 youth and adult volunteers from the community are involved in 4‑H. Columbia County 4-H youth are engaged in many different projects or programs. Youth are able to find a project that fits their interest from crafts to robotics to small engines to drama or animals and so much more. Youth are also able to experience leadership opportunities through state wide programs, camps, and travel experiences.
Youth and their families are able to create an experience through 4-H that encourages a sense of belonging; advanced skill development that will foster mastery; a broadened perspective that leads to generosity; and an understanding of self which allows youth to embrace their independence. These four Essential Elements of 4-H Youth Development are key to the successes young people experience through 4-H club membership and project work.