Trent P. Clark | 8/23/2011 6:48:44 PM
The school year is upon us but it’s not too early to think about extracurricular activities. One organization I highly recommend is 4-H. Louisiana 4-H, originating as a corn club in Moreauville, La., is a youth development organization that focuses on SET (science, engineering, and technology), healthy living, and citizenship.
4-H has a lot to offer for students of all ages. 4-H is not only for students raising animals and showing them in livestock shows. Elementary students are able to participate in creative workshops that teach new skills in the best way possible; they “learn by doing.” These students can also make new friends and learn new skills at 4-H Camp in the summer.
Junior high members can learn about leadership and community service by joining the Avoyelles Parish Junior Leaders and attending Challenge Camp. They can also learn about outdoor skills through the Shooting Sports program and LOST Camp.
There are numerous opportunities for high school 4-H members as well. Members can represent the parish at the Junior Leadership Conference held at 4-H Camp in the spring and learn about leadership, community service, and much more. They can also represent the parish at 4-H University. 4-H University is held on the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge, La. in the summer. At 4-H University, 4-H’ers compete in different contests, such as demonstrations, talent, and speech, for cash prizes and out of state award trips. 4-H’ers can also apply for state board positions and campaign for state offices on the State 4-H Executive Board. National trips are also available for high school members, like the National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C., and the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Georgia. And parents, the Louisiana 4-H Foundation offers more $16,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors every year.
I would not be where I am today without 4-H. Through 4-H, I have made new friends throughout the state and country. I have experienced politics and gained public speaking skills. 4-H has helped me decide where I want to go to college. I have traveled to Washington, D.C. and will soon go to Atlanta, Georgia in November 2012, thanks to 4-H. I have served on the State 4-H Executive Board as a Central Regional Representative and as a 2011 National Conference Delegate. Also, 4-H has allowed me to give back to my community and the organization in extraordinary ways. The 4-H Pledge will always remain a part of my memory: “I pledge my head to greater thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.”
To join 4-H, contact your school administration and ask for the club sponsors. The first 4-H meeting at which new members can join is held in early September. Take this incredible opportunity and see what 4-H can do for you!
Written by Austin Bordelon, Avoyelles 4-H Parish President.