What comes to mind when you hear the words “4-H?” For many, it is the image of a young person beaming with pride as he or she leads a beloved animal into the county fair show ring. For others, it may be the excitement of the 4-H Maker Challenge Mousetrap Powered Car Competition.
4-H can mean many things. Here in New Hampshire it means hands-on educational experiences in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), animal and marine sciences, developing readiness skills for career and academic pathways, as well as service learning, civic engagement, and opportunities to interact with New Hampshire state leaders.
New Hampshire 4-H meets youth and families where they are—geographically, socially and emotionally—to engage them in experiential learning opportunities. Through 4-H, youth learn valuable lessons associated with essential life skills through public speaking and communication techniques, resume writing, and leadership. All 4-H-ers have access to university resources such as subject area specialists, scholarship opportunities, and internships.
Youth and families are not the only ones who benefit from participation in the 4-H program. 4-H infuses the community with active and informed youth citizens who appreciate different points of view and the importance of respectful civil discourse. By preparing a resilient youth population, 4-H empowers and challenges its members to tackle issues they face in today’s world. All of this is built on the foundation of pledging their “Head, Heart, Hands and Health” in an effort “To Make the Best Better.” This is 4-H in New Hampshire.
Every 4-H experience is different, but each carries a common thread: positive youth development encouraged through partnerships with caring, supportive adults. That’s the 4-H way.
Written by: Jody Jackson, Extension Program Manager
Photo credit: UNH Cooperative Extension