Home Living Extension Update from Megan Burda: 4-H — A Lasting Impact

Extension Update from Megan Burda: 4-H — A Lasting Impact


Megan Burda – York/Polk Extension Educator

4-H: A Lasting Impact 

When you think of 4-H, do you image a farm and exhibiting animals at a county fair? Well, think again. 4-H is about learning lifelong skills, creating new friendships, discovering new opportunities, exploring projects, and so much more. 4-H offers a wide variety of project interests such as consumer & family sciences, communications & expressive arts, animals & plants, healthy living, environmental sciences, science & technology, career and college readiness, agricultural literacy, citizenship and leadership. In fact, there are over 150 projects from which to choose.  Some learning activities 4-H’ers might participate in include speech contests, quality assurance training for raising meat animals, livestock judging and home environment workshops. There are also a variety of camps 4-H’ers may attend during the summer that also provide learning experiences as well as fun. 

What is 4-H?  4-H is an educational program that helps young people develop new skills, explore possible career choices and serve their communities.  It is one of the largest and most respected youth organizations in the world!  4-H is a community of young people, ages 5-19, who are learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. 4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential by working and learning in partnership with community members. 4-H is education for life that uses a learn-by-doing approach. Youth between the ages of 8 and 18 by January 1 of the current year may join 4-H.  The Clover Kid program is for children age 5-7 as of January 1 and features educational projects and activities that are non-competitive. Youth may join a club in their area or may be an independent member.   

Why join 4-H?  4-H helps its members develop citizenship and leadership skills.  The projects and activities teach members responsibility and important life-long skills. 4-H’ers establish new friendships with their fellow members and become more actively involved in their communities.  4-H offers many rewarding experiences and provides valuable benefits that shape a member’s character and knowledge, which lasts a lifetime. There are actually many entertainers who were in 4-H when they were growing up. They include David Letterman, Reba McIntire, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Jennifer Nettles, and Luke Bryan- and that’s just to name a few!   

Great 4-H benefits:  

4-H is for the whole family – 4-H is more than an activity for youth. 4-H can be a shared experience for the whole family.  Parents, siblings, and relatives can have fun, discover, care, and grow along with their 4-H youth through 4-H projects and activities. By making 4-H a family affair, thousands of families enjoy the quality time it gives them. Adult volunteers can lead clubs, lend their expertise to particular project areas, and serve on teams with other volunteers. 

 4-H gives back – Nebraska 4-H youth are tomorrow’s leaders. Through 4-H, youth build connections with their peers, with adults, and with their communities. 4-H helps youth be a part of their community and perform community service tasks. Every youth has the potential to be a leader and 4-H helps bring this out in them! 

Lifetime Benefit-Strong Roots, Promising Future– 4-H prepares youth for higher education and potential careers by emphasizing life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, serving others, as well as managing change.  

Resume Builder! - Colleges and Employers are looking for people who contribute to the community and are actively involved. Being in 4-H, you can gain leadership, public speaking, communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. (Students: All of these points look GREAT on a resume!)  

Connection to University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Through participating in 4-H, it allows youth to experience their “first class” at UNL that offers them unique advantages like experiencing campus, scholarships, resources, networks, talking to college faculty and professors, building connections, and more. The local Extension Office is a connection between you and UNL. 

Customizable Experience– 4-H offers over 150 different projects – Throughout each project area are hands-on opportunities to learn about science, agricultural literacy, career development and college readiness, citizenship and leadership, as well as healthy living. 

Find your career path! – 4-H offers over 150 different projects to explore your interests and hobbies.  Doing this or trying something new may even lead you to a career.  By participating in 4-H projects and activities, you can also build the skills necessary for pursuing the career you chose. 

Both youth and adults should consider joining and supporting 4-H, if they don’t already. Through the process of 4-H, youth gain leadership skills without even realizing it and 4-Hers are continuously learning and growing.  The 4-H program guarantees it will meet youth’s interests and needs because there is an endless list of activities and programs you can get involved in and it gives you a desire to help others.  It is also a fun way to learn and develop a sense of responsibility, and one of the best parts is that youth will have a blast participating in 4-H activities and developing new friendships with fellow 4-H’ers. 4-H is a great program and it will be a fun, positive experience for your whole family! 

This article comes from a series of resources developed by Nebraska Extension, 4-H Youth Development Professionals. Learn more about 4-H at 4h.unl.edu.  

Source: Tessa Hain, Extension Assistant in Antelope County  

Upcoming Events

4-H and FFA Market Beef Weigh days

The Weigh Days for 4-H Market Beef have been set for the month of March in 2016. The first is Saturday, March 5, 2016 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the fairgrounds in York.  The second date is the day before the progress show on Friday, March 25, 2016 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. 

Daily Gain is no longer a used as a determining factor in ribbon placings or eligibility to be a Champion at the Nebraska State Fair or the AKSARBEN Livestock Show.

All York County market beef animals that would like to be eligible to compete at the 2016 York County Fair must attend one of the scheduled Extension or FFA sponsored weigh / tagging activities in 2016.  Animals that will only exhibit at the Nebraska State Fair and/or the AKSARBEN Livestock show may be processed at home by your family. Ask at the Extension Office if you have questions about the activities or who can collect their own information.

To be eligible to exhibit at the 2016 Nebraska State Fair or the AKSARBEN Livestock Show, animals must be identified using an EID ear tag and have a DNA sample on file with AKSARBEN by April 15, 2016.  Families may apply the EID ear tag and collect their own DNA sample, but the DNA and $6 must be in the Extension Office before April 15, 2016.  New for 2016, exhibitors / families will not be required to enter the animal identification on line, only have the DNA sample collected and EID tag in the marker beef animal by the April 15 deadline.

At the 4-H/Extension sponsored market beef activities in the spring and summer, staff and volunteers will be available to assist in tagging and collecting DNA samples plus will collect weight information for families and the York County Average Daily Gain program.

For York County in 2016, all county-only plastic tags and EID tags are free to exhibitors and the DNA samples must be accompanied by a $6.00 fee.

4-H Dog Project Seminar

Have you ever watched dogs zipping through an obstacle course on TV or the Best of Show winner at the Westminster Dog Show? Did you know your 4-Her could train your family dog to do those things through 4-H?

Come and learn all about the project and what your 4-Her could do in the project at our 4-H Dog Project Seminar led by experienced dog trainers on March 19 at the Cornerstone Building on the York County Fairgrounds from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Learn the basics of dog training, the difference in the skill levels your 4-Her can enter and tips and information that will set your 4-Her on the right path in their journey with their furry best friend within the dog project.

What: 4-H dog-training workshop

When: March 19 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Cornerstone Building on the York County Fairgrounds

Have questions? Call Mary Bristol (402) 366-2659 PLEASE leave your dog at home.



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