MADISON CO., N.Y. — As the leaves start to change and the air begins to cool, the 4-H year ends and begins again. Each October youth across the nation celebrate National 4-H Month with fundraisers, club parties, and local extension programs. The same is true for the 4-H youth in Madison County. So, what exactly are we celebrating?
In 1902, A.B. Graham in Ohio and T.A. Erickson in Minnesota developed agriculturally based youth programs that led to the birth of 4-H in the United States. By 1910 the trademark 4-H clover was coined by Jessie Field Shambaugh and by 1912 they were officially called 4-H Clubs. Following the passing of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 and the creation of Cooperative Extension System, 4-H was adopted and nationalized under this system. By 1924, the Cooperative Extension System has also adopted the term “4-H Clubs” and the 4-leaf clover emblem.
Although 4-H was mostly in agricultural communities in the 1900s, today, “4‑H serves youth in rural, urban, and suburban communities in every state across the nation. 4‑H’ers are tackling the nation’s top issues, from global food security, climate change and sustainable energy to childhood obesity and food safety. 4‑H out-of-school programming, in-school enrichment programs, clubs and camps also offer a wide variety of STEM opportunities – from agricultural and animal sciences to rocketry, robotics, environmental protection and computer science – to improve the nation’s ability to compete in key scientific fields and take on the leading challenges of the 21st century” (4-h.org). While specific opportunities vary by county and state, we strive to provide hands-on learning to kids and teens throughout the year.
In Madison County, 4-H has a large presence both inside and out of schools, with an emphasis on agricultural education, STEM, and community engagement. This year we are celebrating our 4-H youth’s resilience. The last year and a half have been challenging, without a doubt, yet our youth continue to persevere. They have handled an immense amount of stress and change, yet still show up to participate in what they love, even if it has been virtually. We are looking forward to the years ahead where we will continue to celebrate our youth, new and old, by providing them with positive youth development programs and the tools to flourish.
If you know of a youth who would benefit from being in a 4-H club, please contact the office at email@example.com or 315-684-3001.
For more information visit www.4-h.org or see what our Madison County 4-Hers are up to by checking us out on Facebook @madisoncountyny4h!
Cornell Cooperative Extension Madison County
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