Learning new skills should be fun and hands-on, allowing kids to roll up their sleeves and get messy. Whether it’s learning to sew or bake, raise and train animals, shooting and other sports, 4-H believes in the power of the youth and encouraging young minds to grow through experience and fun education.
“It offers tremendous opportunity,” said Douglas County Extension Educator Lindsay M. Chichester. “4-H teaches them some responsibility, accountability, time management and just life skills.”
4-H is a learn-by-doing life skills program that teaches youth communications skills, self-concept, team-building, problem-solving, decision making, self-responsibility, conflict resolution, aspiration-building, goal setting, community leadership, career development and more through hands on projects in a variety of subjects including animals, science, engineering, and nutrition.
“It encourages youth to make good choices, feel good about themselves, think critically and become leaders,” said Chichester.
Chichester said she grew up in 4-H and the benefits of it opened up many possibilities for her. She received a life stock scholarship through the program which helped her pay for college and she’s been able to use some of the skills she learned from 4-H throughout her life.
According to Chichester, 4-H goes back over 200 years ago during the time of the Civil War when children were taught and encouraged to grow cops, take care of the livestock and be ablet to provide for their families during a time of need.
For more than 90 years, University of Nevada Reno Extension has administered a 4-H program in Nevada and is one of the largest youth organizations in the U.S., said Chichester.
“4-H is a community of youth across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills,” she said.
Based on interests and guided adult mentors, youth develop their own path in 4-H.
Parents and youth 9-19-years old can learn more about 4-H during and information night 5:30-6:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Carson Valley Methodist Church, 1375 Centerville Lane in Gardnerville.
There are no fees to sign up, however families are responsible for all care, housing, feed and costs for their livestock. It is advised to not purchase any equipment or animals prior to meeting with and having approval from a club leader.
“There’s no cost to join, but some fees might be required, depending on the club,” said Chichester. “We do help in any way possible, such as feed for animals, carpool options for state shows and scholarships to help offset the costs.”
During the information night parents and children can learn more about the club, meet leaders in the program and find out if the 4-H program is a right fit for them.
Clover bud, and extension of the club geared toward children 5-8 years old, is also being offered. Leaders are needed for this club, said Chichester.
The club is looking for club leaders in various programs, including automatics, robotics and anything else a volunteer might be able to teach and offer the youth. Chichester said all leaders must be 18 years or older, pass a background check and finger printing and have experience and knowledge in the department they want to be a leader in.
“There’s lots of learn-by doing and opportunities for everyone, hopefully picking up things that will be important for them as adults,” said Chichester.