Joining the Club Update
by: Nickie Harding
4-H Youth Development, Program Assistant
As fall begins, families begin a new series of activities. With so many extracurricular programs available for youth to choose from, it can be difficult and overwhelming when selecting new activities. 4-H programs are an excellent option for young people and offer something for everyone in the family. 4-H had its beginnings in rural America, but it now serves youth in urban, suburban, and rural communities.
4‑H programs are grounded in the belief that kids learn best by doing. Youth complete hands-on projects in areas like science, health, agriculture, communications, and civic engagement. Projects and activities are held in a positive environment where youth receive guidance from adult and teen mentors and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles. Kids can concentrate on one project area or several throughout their 4‑H experience.
4-H project work is how 4-H’ers learn subject matter which is significant and of interest to them. Projects are a way for youth to learn, set goals, and gain other valuable life skills through hands-on learning experiences at their own pace and skill level.
In Douglas, County youth participate in 4-H programming through many avenues. Some of those opportunities include in-school programming, day camps, and specific project-related training. The most common avenue is by joining a 4-H club, which can help guide them through the 4-H experience. 4-H club meetings provide opportunities to share their project work (speak), plan service-learning activities, and practice running effective meetings. Some clubs may have ‘sub' clubs for individual projects, led by adults or teens. For some specialized projects like horses, Douglas County has a county-wide project club that operates similarly.
Douglas County also offers a 4-H Cloverbud program. The Cloverbud program works to foster the development of life skills essential to 5 and 6-year-olds. Cloverbud meetings begin with an opening ceremony followed by an educational program and conclude with games and snacks. Programs vary and usually relate to a 4-H project area. You can view a list of 4-H projects at: https://bit.ly/2021ProjectSelectionGuide.
Kansas 4-H is open to youth between the ages of 7 and 19 as of January 1 of the current 4-H year. Our 4-H Cloverbud program is open to youth ages 5 and 6 as of January 1 of the current
4-H year. The new 4-H year begins October 1, so many prefer to join 4-H at the start of the school year. 4-H enrollment, however, is open year-round. If you would like more information about Douglas County 4-H, please visit https://www.douglas.k-state.edu/4-h/index.html to begin your journey.