As spring arrives many families are looking forward to enjoying spring break with their kids, doing some spring cleaning, and looking at some new home improvement projects. This is also the time for some much needed rest and relaxation for all to enjoy. After spring break comes Easter celebrations with lots of egg hunts. I hope that all 4-H families have completed the 4-H enrollment applications. The deadline for 4-H advisors to have their 4-H enrollment forms into the Extension Office is April 1, 2015. For new families that have attended a few 4-H clubs meeting and their kids are all excited about joining 4-H now comes the part about completing a 4-H project book for the Butler County Fair which will take place July 26 – August 1, 2015. This week’s article will focus on successfully completing the 4-H project book and the benefits youth gain from participating in 4-H.
Each project book contains a wealth of information and activities for planning and conducting a project. The project book allows each youth to use some creative energy in learning about a topic. The projects can be completed by participating in activities through organized groups or by carrying out the activities individually under the guidance of a parent or other adults. When youth are selecting a project they should consider their interest, background, what is necessary to start the project, what is available to complete it. A good rule of thumb is to select no more than two projects as a first year member. The project is not meant to be a chore. Instead, it is a way for youth to learn.
Completing a 4-H project book allows youth to:
* Learn how to organize their thoughts
* Learn how to use project objectives to set goals and plan for completing the project this year
* Learn how to set reasonable goals
* Appreciate and explain what they have learned from the project
* Gather information needed to complete the project
* Meet requirements to participate in the county fair
New 4-H families are surrounded by some experienced 4-H advisors, parents, youth, and they can always count on the 4-H staff at the Extension Office in Butler County. I recommend that new 4-H families should feel free to contact various people and resources as their kids work on completing their first 4-H project to take to the county fair.
New 4-H families need to know about the benefits of 4-H and positive youth development. A 2002 longitudinal study accessing over 7,000 youth from an array of diverse backgrounds was performed by Tufts University. Researchers partnered with faculty at land-grant universities to study how participation in 4-H allows youth to succeed in academic and life experiences through positive adult mentoring, structured learning, and consistent encouragement. The research revealed that, in comparison with other youth, young people in 4-H:
* Experience greater educational achievements
* Have greater motivation and aspirations for the future education
* Are more civically active
* Are more than 3.3 times more likely to contribute to their communities
* Have significantly lower drug, cigarette, and alcohol use
* Are 2.3 times more likely to exercise and be physically active
* Report better grades and higher levels of academic competence
* Are nearly 2 times more likely to go to college
New 4-H families will increase the time they spend with their kids. Parent involvement is needed for kids to have a great experience in learning about a new topic. Parents can provide encouragement, be a good listening ear, provide necessary transportation and provide the motivation for completion of the 4-H project. As youth progress through 4-H their knowledge of various projects will increase, their leadership skills will increase and it will also help them to develop a career path.
I would like to thank all new 4-H families for making the commitment for 2015. If questions arise please talk with your 4-H club advisors, parents in the club, and the 4-H Extension staff at the office in Butler County. I would encourage new families to make a visit to the Extension Office located at 1802 Princeton Rd, Ste. 400 to learn about all the great opportunities available to all 4-H youth. Best wishes to all the new 4-H families!
For up-to-date program information, check us out on the web at: butler.osu.edu.
News Release provided by Kevin Harris.