4-H offers youth opportunities to develop life skills such as leadership, responsibility, initiative, confidence, the ability to speak in public, run a meeting, balance a checkbook, and so much more through hands-on experiential learning. 4-H delivers experiential learning through more than 200 different projects that youth can choose from as well as through opportunities at numerous camps, livestock clinics, and other special events. 4-H youth also have the ability to exhibit their projects and animals at the Wayne County Fair.
What Impact Does 4-H Have on Youth?
Starting in 2002 researchers at Tufts University started a research study of 4-H youth across 44 states in comparison to youth involved in other Out of School Time (OST) youth development programs and activities such as sports, Boys & Girls Clubs, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, YMCA, and scouting. The study is a longitudinal study so the researchers followed the same set of more than 7,000 youth from fifth grade through 11th grade while adding some new participants each year to maintain statistical integrity.
All of the OST programs make a significant positive difference in the lives of the youth that participate in their respective programs, however, 4-H seems to make an even stronger impact in several key areas. For instance, 4-H youth reported having more mentors than did comparison youth, 4-H youth are 2.1 times more likely than other youth to make contributions to their communities and 1.8 times more likely to have higher scores on measures of active and engaged citizenship. Additionally, 4-H youth are 1.6 times as likely as other youth to engage in healthy habits and 2.4 times as likely to delay sexual intercourse. On educational measures, 4-H participants are 1.5 times as likely as youth in other OST programs to report high academic competence and 1.7 times as likely as youth in other OST programs to report high engagement in school.
So how do kids join 4-H?
Kids that are age 5 and enrolled in kindergarten through age 18 as of January 1st of this year are welcome to join 4-H. Simply contact the Wayne County OSU Extension Office at 330-264-8722 or visit us on the web at wayne.osu.edu for more information. Our office can assist you in locating a 4-H club in your area of the county. The enrollment deadline for Wayne County 4-H is April 1st but many clubs set earlier deadlines so now is the time to get kids connected with 4-H.
Doug Foxx is an OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit cfaesdiversity.osu.edu.