National 4-H Week is a time when 4-H members across the United States come together to showcase their passion for leadership, citizenship, community service, and all things 4-H. This annual event takes place in the first full week of October (this year, Oct 1-7) and offers a platform for 4-H members to highlight how their involvement in 4-H has benefited them in ways such as personal growth, teamwork, and making a positive impact in their communities.
One of the standout activities during National 4-H Week is the county-wide window display contest. 4-H clubs, like the Smithfield Up and Coming 4-H Cub, take this opportunity to creatively decorate the windows of local businesses in effort to illustrate the many amazing opportunities that 4-H provides, from the farms to the cities.
Emma Green, a devoted member of this club, expressed her enthusiasm for this project, saying, "I hope the impact will be just getting more people into 4-H in general. I'm all for promoting 4-H. I love 4-H and I've been in it for a long time!"
Emma's passion for 4-H is not only contagious but also evident in the thoughtful approach her club takes in creating their window display. She emphasized the importance of inclusivity, stating, "I think that everyone's opinion matters, and I take that to heart...When one person wants to do this, and one person wants to do that, how can we make it to where everyone's opinion is in it? And we make it all come together."
This collaborative spirit reflects one of the core Positive Youth Development principles of 4-H: Belonging. Moreover, it fosters leadership, teamwork, and communication skills among members. Window displays not only serve as eye-catching advertisements for 4-H but also as a testament to the club's commitment to working together and valuing each member's input.
The impact of National 4-H Week, however, doesn't stop at window displays. Activities like passing out flyers at school, wearing 4-H t-shirts, and sharing about one’s 4-H experiences on social media help raise awareness about the organization's mission and its positive influence on young people. These activities encourage more youth to explore the world of 4-H, where they can learn life skills, engage in hands-on projects, and develop a sense of civic responsibility.
National 4-H Week is a vibrant celebration of the dedication and enthusiasm of 4-H members like Emma Green. Their efforts, from decorating windows to engaging with their communities, have a far-reaching impact by inspiring others to join the 4-H family and experience the transformative power of this remarkable organization. Through their activities and passion, 4-H members are not just promoting a cause; they are building a better future for themselves and their communities.
Each year, in the first week of October, local 4-H members get involved in a variety of activities to celebrate National 4-H Week. Fulton 4-H member Emma Green helped her 4-H club with a window display, shared her 4-H stories and photos on social media, and thanked the local 4-H staff for their investment in her life and the program.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Emily Schoenfelder joined the Illinois 4-H team in 2017. Prior to this, she began her work in positive youth development with California 4-H and the YMCA. She specializes in STEM engagement, social-emotional development, and educator professional development.
She received a master of science degree in recreation, park, and tourism administration from Western Illinois University.
When she is not leading a training, writing curriculum, or developing new partnerships, you may find Emily sitting on the floor of her office, building marshmallow catapults out of popsicle sticks or designing mazes for robots for her next STEM program.
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