We are rapidly approaching a time of year that is full of surprise and mystery. I am not talking about the impending holiday crush as we may soon see, but the beginning of a brand new 4-H year. Many of you already may know that 4-H is one of the nation’s largest youth development programs, reaching more than 6 million youth. Perhaps you or someone you know had experiences in 4-H. I hope that those memories are positive and that you see 4-H for the treasure and benefit it is to our youth and our communities. The new 4-H year begins on October 1st of each year and runs through September 30th.
The 4-H program is run in conjunction with Montana State University Extension and is one of the chief responsibilities of Extension. In Montana it is estimated that 1 out of 8 school age youth are 4-H’ers, making it the largest out-of-school program reaching approximately 20,000 youth annually.
So, what is so special about 4-H? I personally was not involved in 4-H as a youth but in my time as Extension agent here in Liberty County I have come to appreciate the many things that 4-H teaches our youth. 4-H focuses on several things, including science, engineering and technology, healthy living and leadership through more than 50 different self selected projects. These projects range from the traditional sewing, cooking and large animal projects to more recent additions such as junk-drawer robotics as well as hiking, sport fishing, photography, art and woodworking. One of the best things about 4-H is that there is something for everyone!
4-H isn’t just for our youth. The 4-H program is always in need of adult volunteers that want to give back to their community and share their talents. Whether you were in 4-H as a youth, or not, the 4-H program always welcomes those adults who want to share their talents and help make the best better. The experiences that you have hold can make an impact in our youths’ lives. Now’s your chance to share your knowledge and talents with our young people, our future leaders.