In The News
A World of Opportunity
Summer is a busy time of year and the county fairs are rapidly approaching!
While 4-H members will have projects on display during the fair, 4-H is so much more than a project display.
4-H is the youth development program for K-State Research and Extension and is designed as research-based education and experience-based learning to provide youth with useful life skills by working with caring adults who set examples and model behaviors.
The 4-H Community Club is the traditional, and most well-known, format for delivering youth development. The Midway Extension District is home to 10 community clubs with 5 in each county. These active groups of young people, with engaged leaders, meet monthly to learn important skills such as parliamentary procedure. Community clubs often provide the first opportunities for leadership as song leaders/recreation leaders and presentations by sharing project talks.
Youth development is provided through a variety of other avenues including partnership with library and after-school programs as well as SPIN (Special Interest) Clubs. SPIN Clubs are, typically, short-term programs for a youth to experience the basic principles of 4-H while delving into a project area of interest.
Attending 4-H camp is an opportunity for youth development. In early June, 40 campers and 6 counselors from the Midway District joined 350 other youth at Rock Springs Ranch. This is an opportunity for campers to experience staying away from home for a few days, learning activities such as crafts, archery, or about pioneers. At least as important as the campers, it provides an excellent opportunity for youth ages 14-18 to serve as counselors which includes responsibility for getting their campers to activities, helping with table manners and KP (kitchen patrol!), making sure their campers stay hydrated, and handling homesickness. It is a huge responsibility for the counselors and I was very proud of our 6 from the Midway District!
Junior Leaders in both counties will be hosting Day Camps in August which are open to youth in their communities. While the Day Camp provides a neat learning opportunity for the youth in the community, Junior Leaders practice organization and planning, as well as teaching skills.
Other opportunities for youth development include Citizenship In Action (CIA), Kansas Youth Leadership Forum (KYLF), Favorite Foods show, livestock shows, and livestock and life skills judging contests. Specific project areas may also have additional field trips and competitions such as a Geology field day, dog shows, shooting sports meets, or a district horse show.
The true reason for holding these events is to provide an opportunity for a young person to learn and improve on skills with a focus on communication, making sound decisions, and improving their self-confidence.
Oh yes…..and the Fair! The county fair should be the culmination of a project year of learning and practicing new skills and sharing that information with a judge. Can you make those biscuits in your sleep because you have practiced so many times? Can you explain to someone how, and why, the pieces of your rocket go together for maximum flight? Do you have better control of your animal and know more this year about how you care for it?
Providing opportunities for young people to develop communication skills, confidence, and the leadership skills to contribute to their communities long-term is truly the goal of 4-H!
~Michelle Beran, 4-H and Youth Development Agent