Terril D. Faul, Merrill, Thomas A. | 9/12/2006 1:35:00 AM
News Release Distributed 09/11/06
Louisiana 4-H’ers will join others across the country in observing National 4-H Week Oct. 1-7.
The main focus of the week is to celebrate the accomplishments of the young people, volunteer leaders and parents involved in 4-H – as well as to encourage others to become involved in the unique youth development program.
"4-H once was thought of as a program only for those who lived in rural areas, but that’s definitely not true these days," said Dr. Paul Coreil, director of extension and vice chancellor for the LSU AgCenter. "Today’s 4-H program has as much to offer young people in cities as it does those in less populated communities."
That is demonstrated in 4-H enrollment numbers for Louisiana and the nation. Nationwide, 4-H is in every community across America, and 55 percent of its members live in cities, large towns and their suburbs. In Louisiana, 33 percent of 4-H’ers are in larger cities, towns and suburbs, while 37 percent live in smaller towns or other nonfarm settings and only 30 percent live on farms or in rural areas.
"There’s no question that 4-H has something for everyone," Coreil said. "We know we are helping young people learn how to become tomorrow’s leaders."
Today’s 4-H Club members learn leadership, citizenship and life skills through hands-on projects that involve science, engineering and technology, healthy living, citizenship and much more. Topics are as varied as rocketry, GPS mapping, public speaking, computer science, photography, nutrition and community service.
"The image of 4-H being all about cows or cooking is way out of date," said Terril Faul, who leads Louisiana’s 4-H program for the LSU AgCenter. "Sure, we still have those things, but we also have so much more – like programs based in science and technology and activities that let 4-H’ers take a hands-on approach to protecting Louisiana’s coastline and its environment.
4-H is the youth education and outreach program of the nation’s land-grant universities. In Louisiana, it is operated through the statewide offices of the LSU AgCenter, one of the campuses in the Louisiana State University System.
Because of those ties, 4-H is the only youth development program directly connected to the technological advances and latest research of the universities.
"4-H helps Louisiana’s young people reach their full potential," Coreil said. "It teaches them skills that will benefit them throughout their lives while it also shows them how to serve their communities – another important characteristic for future leaders."
In addition to those facts, the experts also point to recent studies that show youth who participate in 4-H do better in school, are more motivated to help others, feel safe to try new things, achieve a sense of self-esteem and develop lasting friendships.
"We have no question that Louisiana’s 4-H members are some of the best young people in the state, and we think 4-H truly is teaching them how to ‘make the best better,’" Faul said.
4-H is one of the largest youth development organizations in America with more than 6.5 million young people ages 5-19, 538,000 volunteers, 3,500 staff and 60 million alumni. Louisiana had approximately 54,000 4-H Club members across the state in 2005-06, and another 119,000 took part in various educational activities offered through 4-H last year.
To learn more about the adventures and opportunities available though 4-H, visit www.lsuagcenter.com and click the kids, teens and 4-H link.