Sara Drake column: 4-H clubs do it all
A 4-H club is an organized group of youth who meet regularly under the guidance of adult volunteers. The volunteers may be parents or community members who have been screened and trained by Extension personnel.
There are minimum requirements a 4-H club must achieve in order to be a recognized, chartered 4-H club. These include holding regular meetings (a 4-H Club should meet, at least once a month for nine months of the year), having a slate of youth officers, having a minimum of five youth members and having a plan of work for meetings.
A 4-H Club must recharter annually. After meeting the minimum requirements, 4-H clubs may apply for a gold or emerald seal for their charter. To earn a gold seal, the 4-H club must have completed at least one community service project in the previous year, and the club leader must have attended at least two volunteer trainings. To earn the emerald seal, youth members must be engaged in 4-H life skills development opportunities, including project records, presentations or 4-H camp; the club must have completed at least one citizenship activity, two community service activities and have participated in the annual 4-H Achievement Night.
4-H Club meetings include a business meeting, led by the youth officers. The business meeting always begins with 4-Hers reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the 4-H Pledge. The 4-H Pledge tells what 4-H is all about, the development of youth in four areas: Head, heart, hands and health. The business meeting is followed by an educational program or activity, guest speaker or field trip. There should also be some type of social or recreational time allowed for youth members, as well. The topics of the meetings are decided by the club members. The volunteers help arrange the educational activities and help 4-Hers apply what they have learned to real life situations.
4-H Clubs can be classified as general interest or as special interest. A general interest club would cover a variety of topics throughout the year, while a special interest club would cover one subject area. Rowan County has 10 active 4-H Clubs. These include All Creatures Great & Small, led by Judi Ziegelhofer, Pearl Lund and Juliah Smith; BCR Trailblazers, led by Mindy Carriker and Brandy Hampton; 4-H Dairy Goat Club, led by Glenda Noble; East Equine Explorers, led by Dr. Ann Furr; Home Achievers 4-H Club, led by Gina Blandino and Diana Wallace; Hot Shots 4-H Shooting Sports Club, led by Glenn and Beth Stebe; Manes & Tails 4-H Club, led by Amy Henderson; Sacred Heart Cultivators 4-H Club, led by Randy Cox and Sue Davis; Shive 4-H Green Team, led by Sharon Ingold; and the Silver Clovers 4-H Club, led by Robin Tester.
4-H membership is open to all youth ages 5 to 18. If the club you want to join is at capacity or there is not a club that meets your needs, there is always the option to charter a new 4-H Club. Rowan County 4-H is always looking for volunteers to help us reach our mission. The 4-H mission is that 4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults.
Being a member of a 4-H club gives children year-round involvement, and, without question, provides them the most well rounded 4-H experience. As a club member, children develop leadership skills, public speaking skills and social skills as they participate in monthly club meetings, community service projects, citizenship activities and club outings.
For more information concerning 4-H Clubs, contact Sara Drake, 4-H Extension Agent, at 704-216-8970 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about 4-H or NC Cooperative Extension, call the Rowan Extension Office at 704-216-8970 or visit http://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu.