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University of Illinois Extension

County 4-H Programs Offer Skill Development in a Positive Environment for Kids and Teens

September 27, 2013

Youth Effort Celebrates National 4-H Week

ST. CHARLES, Ill. – DuPage, Kane and Kendall County 4-Hers will join the 7 million other youth currently in 4-H worldwide to celebrate National 4-H Week Oct. 6 to 12. 4-H offers skill development in a positive environment through many venues in each county in Illinois.

"4-H Youth Development programs provide hands-on learning activities for youth in DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties, across Illinois and throughout the country," said Deanna Roby, University of Illinois Extension Educator for the tri-county area. "Programs focus on leadership, citizenship and life skills, and there are many different ways to experience 4-H in your county."

Last year in DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties, more than 1,200 youth participated in organized 4-H community clubs, special interest (SPIN) clubs and other clubs, led by more than 800 trained volunteer leaders. Youth development programs also reached more than 13,000 children and teens through school programs, afterschool activities and camps.

"Youth may join 4-H community clubs and explore more than 100 different project areas to study while building leadership, teamwork, decision-making and communication skills. Or, 4-H participants may instead choose to focus on a specific project area through a special interest, or SPIN club," Roby said.

SPIN clubs provide episodic learning opportunities in areas such as robotics, photography, gardening, visual arts, and nutrition, just to name a few.

Students may also participate in 4-H short-term projects through camps, school or afterschool youth organizations. Some of these popular groups teach youth about science and technology, caring for the environment, preparing for a career, making healthy choices or other priority issues which build a person's life skills, said Roby.

4-H Provides Positive Influence

"Last year, 4-Hers in your county were part of a survey to measure the value of the 4-H experience," said Dr. Denise Oberle, Illinois 4-H Program Leader. The results showed 4-H has a positive influence on the participants in both character and career development.

"4-Hers said that they feel welcomed at their 4-H club meetings and feel that adult leaders care about them," Oberle said. "And, nearly all of the members surveyed stated 4-H helped them develop independent life skills and prepared them for their future and possible careers."

Many 4-Hers perform service projects, which benefit their community, and more than 90 percent of those surveyed could list ways to make a difference in their communities, Oberle said.

"Nearly all of our graduating seniors reported they learned skills through 4-H they can use in a future job," Oberle added.

Every county in Illinois has a 4-H program operated through University of Illinois Extension. 4-H club membership is open to youth aged 8 to 18, and Cloverbud clubs allow children ages 5 to 7 to get a taste of the 4-H experience.

The new program year just began, and new clubs are forming in your community now.

For more information on the 4-H program in your county, visit web.extension.illinois.edu/dkk/ or call your local Extension office in – DuPage County at 630-955-1123, Kane County at 630-584-6166, or Kendall County at 630-553-5823.

4-H Youth Development programs provide hands-on learning, and focus on leadership, citizenship and life skills. 4-H is part of University of Illinois Extension. University of Illinois Extension provides educational programs and research-based information to help Illinois residents improve their quality of life, develop skills and solve problems. University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.


Source: Deanna Roby, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, roby@illinois.edu

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