4-H at Wally World
Oct 12, 2011
Last week, the U.S. celebrated National 4-H Week. Many agriculturalists, including myself, proudly say, "I got my start in 4-H." As a kid, my opportunity to lead began with 4-H. Today, I still serve this great organization as a club leader and volunteer. 4-H is not just for rural or farm kids. Every child age 5 to 18 can gain great life skills and explore an array of interests through individual selection of projects.
Saturday, my club met for its monthly meeting. The day was filled with great opportunities, from officer selection and activity planning for the year...
...to serving the community by planting bulbs in the local library's flowerbeds.
The day's activity concluded with a trip to Wal-Mart.
Yes, we did! We had 4-H at Wally World. Thanks to great coordination between Wal-Mart and the National 4-H Council, local clubs were able to demonstrate the power of the wind. My club conducted a wind energy experiment in the toy section of our local Wal-Mart.
Here is the great part. The shoppers of Wal-Mart, young and old, could interact with Macon County 4-H'ers and see that 4-H is more than livestock, crops and tractors. It was interesting as an adult to observe how my members tackled the challenge of building a wind turbine from wood rods, a hand-held motor and a fan (I just handed them the box with instructions as we entered the Wal-Mart) and how they interacted and encouraged shoppers to join the table of fun.
Looking back, this activity at Wal-Mart was more than just a science experiment -- it was a social experiment, filled with life lessons and leadership skills. If your child has not had the experience of 4-H, I encourage you to introduce him or her to the club today by contacting your local Extension office. The 4-H year is just beginning.
What is 4-H?
4-H is a community of more than 6.5 million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. The 4-H community also includes 3,500 staff, 538,000 volunteers and 60 million alumni.
4-H’ers participate in fun, hands-on learning activities supported by the latest research of land-grant universities focused on three areas: healthy living, citizenship and science. Youth can experience 4-H by becoming a member of a 4-H club, attending a 4-H camp or joining school-based or after-school 4-H programs. 4-H'ers can compete with their projects in contests at the local, state, regional or national levels and also attend conferences and events.
What do the four H's in 4-H stand for?
Head, Heart, Hands and Health are the four H's in 4-H, and they are the four values members work on through fun and engaging programs.
Head - Managing, Thinking
Heart - Relating, Caring
Hands - Giving, Working
Health - Being, Living
What is the 4-H pledge?
"I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world."
- A.B. Graham started the first 4-H group in Clark County, Ohio, in 1902. The first club was called the "Tomato Club" or the "Corn Growing Club"
- T.A. "Dad" Erickson of Douglas County, Minn., started local agricultural after-school clubs and fairs, also in 1902.
- Jessie Field Shambaugh developed the clover pin with an H on each leaf in 1910, and by 1912 the groups were called 4-H clubs.