Texas 4-H members get ready for National 4-H Week Oct. 5-11

Check out this awesome article that was posted by AgriLife Today!

Here is the direct line to the article: http://today.agrilife.org/2014/09/16/national-4-h-week-2014-oct-5-11/


Decade-long research study confirms 4-H provides individual, community benefits

COLLEGE STATION — During National 4-H Week Oct. 5-11, local and county 4-H clubs and groups have the opportunity to showcase what they have gained from their membership at the local and county level, said Dr. Toby Lepley, assistant state 4-H leader – operations for the Texas 4-H Youth Development Program.

The program is administered statewide by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, an agency of the Texas A&M University System.

Members of Randall County 4-H were among those who participated in previous One Day 4-H activities.  National 4-H Week and One Day 4-H are centered around providing service to communities as a ‘thank you’ for supporting 4-H programs and activities. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Kay Ledbetter)

“A fundamental purpose of the 4-H program is to highlight our program’s success and especially the positive impact on youth involved in it,” Lepley said. “The Texas 4-H Youth Development Program develops a National 4-H Week Kit to help county AgriLife Extension offices, 4-H members and volunteers design a plan that works for them.

“Community service is always the focus of National 4-H Week, which concludes with ‘One Day 4-H,’ a statewide effort led by 4-H members and adult volunteers to give back to the communities in which they live through their service.”

Lepley said on Oct. 11 more than 10,000 4-H members throughout Texas will “step out into their communities” to make a difference in one day.

“This day of community service is whatever each 4-H member, club or county 4-H program wants it to be,” Lepley said. “It could be as simple as picking up trash or mowing the lawn for a senior citizen to as elaborate as hosting a 5K walk/run to raise money for a worthy cause.”

Lepley said while 4-H member feedback, program surveys and anecdotal information have always indicated the program provided individual and community benefits, a recently released  long-term research study has confirmed and more comprehensively quantified those benefits.

For more than a decade a team at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, led by Drs. Richard M. Lerner and Jacqueline V. Lerner, have been conducting research in cooperation with the nation’s land-grant colleges and universities.

A decade-long research project has confirmed the benefits of the 4-H program to youth and communities. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

The recently released study, “The Positive Development of Youth: Comprehensive Findings from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development,” began in 2002 and was repeated annually for eight years. More than 7,000 youth from diverse backgrounds across 42 states provided information used in the study.

Lepley said the study concluded that the 4-H program’s hands-on experiential learning, as well as the encouragement and support provided through peer and adult mentoring, plays an important part in helping young people achieve success in life.

The report shows that 4-H members, as compared to their peers are:

– Four times more likely to make contributions to their communities, based on data from students in grades 7-12.

– Two times more likely to be civically active, based on data from students in grades 8-12.

– Two times more likely to make healthier lifestyle choices, based on data from seventh-graders.

– Two times more likely to participate in science, engineering and computer technology programs during out-of-school time, based on information from students in grades 10-12.

In addition, the report shows that tenth-grade girls in 4-H are twice as likely to take part in science programs as compared to girls in other out-of-school-time activities, and twelfth-grade girls are three times more likely to participate.

Lepley said these report results, though not surprising, do help validate the usefulness and extent of the impact the 4-H program has on the nation’s youth.

“We’re proud of our state’s and nation’s 4-H program and hope more young people will consider joining 4-H and participating in the many interesting and educational activities and programs it offers,” he said. “Helping young people build life skills, expand their educational horizons, develop their character and learn to become good citizens are some of the primary objectives of the 4-H program. We look forward to seeing more good works to benefit communities coming from 4-H clubs and groups in Texas and throughout the nation during National 4-H Week.”

For more information on the Texas 4-H Program, go to http://texas4-h.tamu.edu


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