Officials predict 10,000-plus will be involved in 2013
COLLEGE STATION – October 6-12 is National 4-H Week, which culminates with “one day 4-H” — a day of community service set for Oct. 12, said a Texas 4-H program coordinator.
“4-H Week is a time during which we take special efforts to make people aware of the 4-H program, its members and the many things the program has to offer toward youth development,” said Dr. Toby Lepley, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service 4-H and youth development specialist, College Station. “It is also a time when we show our appreciation to those communities that have given more than a century of support to the Texas 4-H program.”
Lepley said the Texas 4-H Program is administered by AgriLife Extension, part of the Texas A&M University System, and that 4-H Week provides an opportunity to highlight the program’s successes — and the youth involved in those successes.
“Each year during National 4-H Week, the local and county clubs or groups of Texas 4-H have the opportunity to showcase what they have gained from their membership through activities and events at the local and county level,” he said. “4-H is a worldwide youth development organization with the mission of creating more effective leaders for tomorrow through education, leadership and competitive experiences.”
Lepley said this year’s one day 4-H efforts are being sponsored by TransCanada.
“This support from TransCanada will surely help 4-H’ers provide even more effective community service and leadership,” he said.
Lepley said the day is designated for all the 4-H members, parents, leaders, and volunteers to step out into their communities and counties to perform community service.
“This is a way to say ‘thank you’ for more than 105 years of support to the Texas 4-H Program,” he explained. “It’s also a way for 4-H members and others associated with the program to demonstrate one of the 4-H program’s key principles — giving back to the community.”
Lepley said one day 4-H activities can be whatever 4-H members, clubs or county programs want.
“It could be as simple as picking up trash and mowing the lawn for senior citizens to as elaborate as hosting a 5K walk/run to raise money for a worthy cause,” he said.
Lepley said members and their clubs or county programs identify and plan community service projects, then secure all the necessary people, supplies and resources to complete the project. They promote the activity to the community and sign the project onto the one day 4-H website.
Lepley said last year some 11,000 4-H members in Texas conducted more than 240 community service projects. Through these projects 4-H members collected canned goods, made pillowcases and blankets for veterans, provided public education on health and wellness issues, cleaned miles of highways and natural areas, assisted other organizations in their community projects and performed numerous other services.
“While this is a service-learning project where youth help others in their communities, it is also an educational experience for the youth involved,” Lepley said. “It teaches core life-skills such as concern for others, empathy, sharing, leadership, responsible citizenship, contributions to a group, teamwork, critical thinking, planning and organizing.”
He added that each year upon conclusion of the week and one day 4-H, members are asked to reflect on their experiences.
“An astonishing number of youth view their communities in a more personal, engaged and responsible way due to the personal growth they experienced,” he said.
For more information and to sign up for one day 4-H community service opportunities, go to http://texas4-h.tamu.edu/oneday.