Want your kids to learn how to speak confidently in front of a crowd, remain poised in a job interview and make tough decisions by using critical thinking skills?
Would it be useful if your kids knew how to sew on a button, prepare a nutritious meal, take a photograph, feed an animal, follow a budget or create a website with computer programming?
When your kids leave home to attend college, will they understand how to run a meeting, take notes, follow parliamentary procedure and give back through community service?
Where are young people learning these important skills? Many of these topics aren’t addressed in a classroom. Instead they are best learned by doing in programs like 4-H.
This week (October 7-13, 2018) is National 4-H Week, and the skills I mentioned above were taught to me during my 10 years of being as a member of this youth organization.
Public speaking, livestock judging, special foods, fashion revue, showing cattle, photography and so much more — there is an abundance of learning opportunities for young people through 4-H.
This week-long celebration underscores the importance of encouraging kids to become members and get involved in 4-H. It doesn’t matter if kids live on a farm or not, today’s agriculture represents all types of interests.
What’s more, the organization presents an amazing outlet for rural and urban kids alike to learn about where their food comes from and how to be responsible consumers. 4-H also teaches kids about the abundance of careers available and teaches the skill sets needed to be competitive in any field.
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to read my children’s book, “Levi’s Lost Calf,” at a local elementary school. I also talked to them about the steps I took in high school and college as I pursued my career in agricultural communications.
The visit coordinated with National 4-H week, and it was great to see so many of the students wearing their 4-H t-shirts as part of the celebration. Hearing about their favorite activities in the organization brought back fond memories for myself, as well.
Plus, it reminded me about the important lessons in agricultural literacy and personal competency that I would have never learned in a classroom.
4-H isn’t just for farm kids; it’s for all kids. We need to encourage our area youth to get involved, so these kids have the opportunity to learn these critical skills to ultimately become effective and responsible adults in the future.
The world needs more 4-H kids, and I’m proud to be an alumnus of such an amazing organization. Happy National 4-H Week from this former Dakota Kid 4-H Club member!
Were you a member of 4-H? Share your favorite memories with us in the comments section below.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.