We have already had many parents and students asking about how to enroll their child in 4-H and when. 4-H enrollment will begin in September for Lincoln Parish Schools and we are looking forward to working with the youth of Lincoln Parish this year. We have some great educational programs planned for monthly club meetings and we have many fun experiences planned for the parish as well. This year we will be focusing our educational efforts on “Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness”. The curriculum supports key messages of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as summarized by USDA in their new MyPlate initiative to help Americans build healthier diets:
·Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
·Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
·Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
·Make at least half your grains whole grains.
·Enjoy your food, but eat less.
·Avoid oversized portions.
Behavior goals of the curriculum include playing actively for 60 minutes each day and limiting screen time to two hours or less each day. Lessons presented at club meetings will include active games, tasting/and or preparing food, and setting goals for healthy eating and activity.
Many are familiar with the LSU AgCenter 4-H Youth Development Program but some may ask, “What is 4-H?” 4-H is the largest Youth Development Organization in the country and has been a fixture for Louisiana for 100 years. The great thing about 4-H is that it does not focus on just one area of interest or talent, it offers over 50 different project areas and is diverse in its offerings of experiences. 4-H is co-curricular and we hold club meeting during school once a month. At these meetings we encourage youth to become officers and ask that these officers conduct the business of the meeting. We also encourage club members to provide demonstrations, guest speakers, speeches, etc. for the program portion of the meeting. We also provide a research based educational program at each club meeting focusing on a vital subject chosen by our Lincoln Parish 4-H Advisory Council according to needs of the parish. We give each child a Lincoln Parish 4-H Newsletter to take home each month that provides information about all of the opportunities that 4-H members can participate in on the parish, area, state, and national levels. Some of the areas 4-H takes initiative in promoting are: Citizenship, Healthy Lifestyles, Science and Technology, Leadership, Service Learning, and Life Skills.
4-H also focuses on meeting the needs of youth based on essential elements of positive youth development. We provide a sense of belonging which includes an interaction with a caring adult and a safe, inclusive environment. We offer Opportunities for mastery which is the process, over-time, of building knowledge, skills, attitudes, wisdom, and demonstrating their uses. 4-H Promotes generosity by providing opportunities to serve so that youth actively value and practice service to others. 4-H encourages independence by offering self-determination where youth feel a sense of control over their lives and exercise their potential to become self-directing, independent adults.
If your child attends school in Lincoln Parish, is in 4th through 12th grade, and you want them to be involved in something that will meet their needs on so many levels; then enroll them in 4-H. We will be holding enrollment meetings at each school during the month of September. Your child should come home with a 4-H newsletter and enrollment form. Parish enrollment dues are $7.00. The school may include a small additional fee to that dollar amount to fund things for the club to do on the school level. There is a faculty member at each of the schools that serves as the volunteer leader for their school’s 4-H club. As a parent, you are encouraged to attend 4-H meetings, we would be glad to have you. We also enlist volunteers to help in many areas. Call the school, find out who the leader is, visit with them, ask when the enrollment meeting is scheduled for your school, offer to help out, and become involved in a great opportunity for your child. You can also call the Lincoln Parish 4-H Office at 318-251-5134. When you call ask for Amanda Simmons and we will be glad to speak with you about this wonderful youth development organization we work for called 4-H.