Looking for an opportunity for your children to get involved in activities where they can have fun while learning, making friends, and developing valuable life skills? How about one where all kids from kindergarten through high school are welcome? The 4-H positive youth development program offers all that and more.
What is Positive Youth Development?
Positive youth development sounds great, but what does it look like? How do you know that your children are experiencing it? These are questions that the 4-H program has spent more than 100 years answering through experience, research, and proven approaches to youth development. In fact, long-term studies have shown that 4-H members benefit in many ways, including being twice as likely to make healthy choices and participate in science outside of school, and four times as likely to contribute to their communities (Tufts University Study).
From the beginning, 4-H has valued experiential learning, leadership, and community service. The 4-H experience launches from a “spark.” This “spark” is an area of interest for which a child has a passion. In 4-H, these are called projects. The project might be horses, livestock, robots, cooking, gardening, archery, or citizenship, to name a few. The list goes on and on. The key ingredients that are added to this spark are: Belonging, Mastery, Independence and Generosity. When these are present, youth are likely to be growing and thriving. Every 4-H club leader learns strategies to incorporate these elements into their local club programs. Not surprisingly, the longer a child is involved, the greater the impact.
4-H membership is even more impactful when county, state and national opportunities are part of the experience. County fair exhibits, public speaking contests, project report judging, camps, and leadership development are a few of the opportunities available here in Orange County. Both Florida 4-H and the National 4-H program offer many additional contests, trips, scholarships and recognition.
Summer is an ideal time to make plans to join a club when the school year begins. Getting involved starts with contacting our office to discover what club can offer the best experience for your child(ren). Sometimes that might be a brand-new club that you volunteer to lead for children in your geographic area. Either way, we will provide all the support you need for your 4-H’ers to be successful. We look forward to having your family join our efforts to “Make the Best Better” through Orange County 4-H. For more information, please visit our website, email us at Orange4h@ifas.ufl.edu or call 407-254-9222.