Florida 4-H: Growing the True Leaders of Tomorrow Today
March 21, 2016
By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Chris DeCubellis, 352-846-4444, email@example.com
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Some say leaders are born, not made. Florida 4-H youth would disagree.
During 2014-15, Florida 4-H reached more than 204,000 youth, ages 5-18, through 4-H clubs, school enrichment, camping, in school clubs, after school clubs and more—with the help of more than 13,000 volunteers trained by Extension 4-H faculty statewide. And all of them learned valuable leadership lessons.
4-H is the nation’s largest positive youth development and youth mentoring organization, empowering 6 million young people in the U.S. According to the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development conducted by Tufts University, young people in 4-H:
- Report better grades, higher levels of academic competence, and an elevated level of engagement at school.
- Are nearly two times more likely to plan to go to college.
- Are more likely to pursue future courses in a career in science, engineering, or computer technology.
But out of the 53 million school-age youth in the U.S. today, 4-H and its peer organizations serve less than half.
“4-H was formed more than 100 years ago around core values of learning by doing, responsibility and leadership. We have built on those solid traditions and values to be relevant to today’s youth,” said one 4-H leader in Escambia. “We teach youth how to lead through priority programming in areas such as citizenship and leadership.”
The UF/IFAS Extension Florida 4-H Youth Development Program uses a learn-by-doing approach to help youth gain the knowledge and skills they need to be responsible, productive citizens. This mission is accomplished by creating safe and inclusive learning environments, involving caring adults, and utilizing the expertise and resources of the University of Florida and the nationwide land grant university system.
National 4-H is partnering with state 4-H organizations in a “Growing True Leaders” campaign, with a goal for 4-H to grow its membership from 6 million to more than 10 million children, nationally. By connecting with 4-H alumni, parents and prospective youth, the Growing True Leader campaign hopes to interest more people in the potential opportunities for learning with 4-H.
How can you help? By telling parents of traditional 4-H members, 4-H alumni and others about how the organization grows leaders.
“America needs more true leaders prepared to take on critical challenges facing families, communities and businesses — an issue that is especially timely given that Americans will decide the future of our country this presidential election year,” said the same 4-H leader in Escambia County.