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Kids & Teens Taking Action: Benefits of the 4-H Youth Program

4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership skills, citizenship, and daily living skills. 4-H is found in counties across the United States where it provides research-based programs, informal learning, and experiential learning programs for children and teens. Children with adult mentors learn hands on, real world skills. Last year alone, more than 100,000 children and 6,000 adult volunteers were involved in 4-H activities. Young people from any ethnic or cultural background are eligible for this program. Children involved with 4-H are more likely to get good grades in school and move on to a college education. This information about the 4-H program is provided as a community service by one of the nation’s premier car, boat, yacht, truck and auto donation processing companies, Action Donation Service®. Action Donation works with many of the nation’s finest youth-serving charities and non-profits, such as Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Special Olympics.



Appreciation For Learning

The foundation for 4-H is a hands on “learn by doing” approach. Much of the drive for 4-H has come from the human response to keep doing what we’ve always done. The USDA saw that adult farmers were less likely to try new ideas in farming, but the youth would experiment with the new techniques and technologies and then introduce them to the family once they were shown to be successful. This organization has made success out of basic human nature – young people are curious and experimental. By providing a safe outlet for that curiosity and centering the focus around the community, there was parent buy in.

Citizenship

Members work under the guidance of extension staff or volunteers who have received training.
The minimum criterion for being a member is to participate in six or more educational activities from 20 to 60 minutes each one. The duration of the learning activity should follow the appropriate attention span at the age of young people in the group. The learning projects can be carried out once a week or when deemed appropriate. The participation of young people is vital for programs of 4-H. The educational model of learning through work is best when young people participate actively. The more involved, the better the educational benefits.


Communication

The main goals of 4-H youth development is to focus on leadership, science, engineering, technology, natural resources, health, expressive arts, culture, sports, college readiness and preparation Skills for the workforce, in addition, the 4-H staff will extend beyond the normal to support families that are not self sufficient. The 4-H programs are carried out in 4-H clubs, and activities like "International Summer Camp" and other activities at the state level and through enrichment programs in schools. 


Leadership

4-H clubs generally hold meetings that are run by the members themselves. Clubs elect officers including president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Holding these positions give children an opportunity to practice leadership skills. Older 4-H members have an opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience as teen leaders for specific projects and activities. Teen leaders often run programs and activities for fellow 4-H members, providing valuable leadership experience.

 


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