Why Should I Join 4-H?

Have you considered enrolling your child in 4-H?

The 4-H Youth Development Program is the largest youth development organization. 4-H provides youth opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills (head, heart, health, and hands) and increase the quality of life they experience to help better their local communities. Youth grow and develop knowledge and life skills through a hands-on learning approach. 4-H | Positive Youth Development, Mentorship, & Education

Here are 5 reasons you should enroll your children in the Lake County 4-H program:

1. It’s for the family.

Lake County 4-H staff and club volunteers rely on parents to make 4-H programs successful. Parents who encourage their 4-H’er will give their youth a positive experience. However, there are many ways parents can become involved  with roles that include being a club assistant, project leader, or episodic volunteer at the county level. At the 4-H club, the environment should welcome the entire family and provide opportunities for further engagement to parents. At home, parents can show interest and encourage their child throughout the 4-H year, support the club leaders, and promote 4-H in the community. This is a parent interest survey that will help club leaders get parents invovled in “making the best better.”

4-H_Parent_Interest_Survey_Volunteer_Club_Level.pdf (ufl.edu)


2. Your children will make friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

As a former Lake County 4-H member, I can attest that the friendships and memories will last a lifetime. The week at camp, club meetings, and county events are ways to get connected to some of your best friends. Also, the memories made throughout your time in 4-H, will be the foundation of your 4-H experiences. These experiences will vary based on your level of involvement with the 4-H program. The more you put into 4-H, the more you will get out.


3. The opportunities are endless!

I have heard the 4-H program being compared to a buffet, there are so many opportunities available it is easy to overinduldge. Do not let this statement deter you from 4-H as youth in our program are empowered to take control of their learning environment and explore their interests. There are many approved 4-H projects that your children can complete. The 4-H mission is to give young people opportunities and help them find their spark.

Here is approved curriculum from the Florida 4-H Clearinghouse: Florida_4-H_Curriculum-Clearing-House.pdf (ufl.edu)

Here are opportunities available at the county level: Lake County 4-H Programs for Members – UF/IFAS Extension Lake County (ufl.edu)

Here are opportunities at the state level: Events – Florida 4-H – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – UF/IFAS (ufl.edu)


4. Your child will gain life skills that will help them become successful adults.

The Life Skills Wheel shows the many skills that youth can acheive during their time in 4-H. 4-H’ers can carry these skills into adulthood which will make them more likely to succeed. As I hit my sixth year as the Lake County 4-H Agent, I have witnessed many youth apply the skills they have learned through 4-H. I frequently hear how encouraging youth to speak in front of a group has helped them overcome their fear of public speaking and has helped them enter college and gain careers.


5. Most importantly, your children will have fun.

4-H teaches a lot of life skills but it will also teach you about yourself. Compelting projects such as livestock, sewing, archery, cooking, and gardening will help you discover your passions. Members can particapte in livestock shows, contests, workshops, speaking competitions, and camps. During my time at 4-H summer camp, I had fun experiences that taught me the four elements of 4-H: belong, independence, generosity, and mastery. As a 4-H member, I vividly remember making butter, raising rabbits, and learning to talk in front of my club. These 4-H experiences made me who I am but the best part is that I had fun doing it.

Is 4-H for you?

If you are interested in joining Lake County 4-H, you can pick from over 30 clubs. If you would like more information on available clubs, please contact me (Dallas Meringolo) at hendersond@ufl.edu. The process to enroll is 1. Pick a club 2. Contact the club leader to determine if the club is a good fit for your family 3. Enroll in the club through 4-H Online https://www.4honline.com 4. Attend club meetings.


Posted: September 20, 2023

Category: 4-H & Youth
Tags: 4-H

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