Youths today have an unprecedented array of sports, clubs, activities, lessons and entertainment options to choose from in their free time.
And for many youths, these activities will provide the foundation on which they develop their personalities and life skills.
For young people who choose to be part of a 4-H Club, research shows they are more likely to be educationally motivated, have higher self esteem and communicate more maturely than their peers.
A 2003 study of 4-H alumni showed that club membership improved responsibility, confidence, leadership, project and presentation skills.
Members also learned to handle competition, feel more at ease in relating to new people and developed good sportsmanship skills.
Subject matter skills taught in projects are the foundations for the youth development that occurs in 4-H.
Learning to prepare meals, give a presentation, repair machinery, ride a horse and care for others are just a few of the skills taught in 4-H that can be of economic social and/or personal value to youth in their future.
Youth and early adolescence is a time of rapid change in young people. 4-H Clubs have the opportunity to strengthen family ties and create good citizens.
4-H Clubs are found throughout Fulton and Montgomery Counties. Some are in rural areas while others are in cities or villages. Some offer specific projects while others offer a wide variety of experiences.
4-H Clubs can be very large and have many leaders and members while others are small with only two leaders.
4-H Clubs are places where youth can share interests and spend time with peers, learn leadership and decision-making, explore new areas of interest and career possibilities through project work, practice public speaking and record keeping and receive recognition for their hard work and most of all have fun.
When there isn't a 4-H club in your area that matches your interests, you can start your own new 4-H club.
You need at least two caring adults and five youth to start a club. 4-H is open to both boys and girls in the community.
There are many 4-H events conducted throughout the year.
Coming up soon is a winter fun day at Lapland Lake Nordic Ski Center. This will be public presentation night and will include the topics veterinary science, tractor safety and a Red Cross-certified babysitting course.
In addition, to these events and workshops, this year's 4-H product sale will be from Feb. 15 to March 15 and will consist of 4-Hers selling frozen pies, chocolate candy bars and bunnies and Palatine Valley Cheese.
If your child is between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, he or she can join 4-H and take part in all the fun projects and events.
To sign-up for 4-H or to receive more information, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension of Fulton and Montgomery Counties at 762-3909. Information also is available on Cornell Cooperative Extensions Web site at www.ccefm.com.
- Source: Why 4-H Clubs? a publication written by the NY State 4-H Office.