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National 4-H Week ‘sparks’ excitement for its members

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This week, 4-Hers across the country are celebrating National 4-H Week. Running from October 3 to 9, National 4-H Week celebrates the millions of kids around the country who have pledged their head, heart, hand, and health to serve their club, community, country, and world.  

This year’s theme, Find Your Spark, is all about finding and following your passion. The National 4-H Council encourages youth from all walks of life with hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and civic engagement in a positive environment. With these experiences, kids can find their passion at such a young age while also learning so much! It takes just one spark to start a fire — a fire for helping others and trying new things, all while having fun!

With a vision to empower youth to become leaders of their community, the National 4-H Council has reached nearly 6 million kids and teens. Not only are 4-H members prepared to become leaders, they are also four times more likely to give back to their community, two times more likely to make healthier decisions, and two times more likely to participate in STEM activities, according to research from Tufts University.

So how are 4-Hers celebrating the 2021 National 4-H Week and their accomplishments? By having fun of course! 

Celebrations

For example, Lupita Fabregas, director of the University of Missouri Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development said Missouri youth are celebrating in many different ways.

“Many clubs use this time to kick off the new 4-H programming year with window displays, yard signs, radio spots and fun family activities such as scavenger hunts and scarecrow contests. Some clubs use this time for service-learning projects, like thanking first responders or veterans for their service. This is also a popular time for awards and recognition nights when youths are celebrated for completing projects.”

Even government officials are getting involved in the celebrations. On September 7, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed a proclamation designating Oct. 3 to 9 as National 4-H Week. This proclamation encourages and recognizes the role the organization plays in empowering youth.

In Illinois, local counties are in competition amongst each other. Stephenson County 4-H Program Coordinator Brenda Heimann says, “To celebrate National 4-H week, families can participate in a multi-county scavenger hunt using the mobile app, ‘GooseChase. Families can spend time together searching for various items listed in the scavenger hunt. They take photos and/or videos and submit them for points on the app. Stephenson County will be in competition with Jo Daviess and Winnebago county.”

4-H STEM Challenge

It would not be National 4-H Week without mentioning the 4-H STEM Challenge (formerly known as National Youth Science Day). The 2021 Challenge theme of space exploration takes youth on an out-of-this world adventure and makes connections to the 4-H pillars—STEM, civic engagement, healthy living, and agriculture. In Galactic Quest, kids get to explore STEM topics including physics, computer science, and space. Activities include: 

  • Astro Adventure – This unplugged board game promotes teamwork, as kids gather the resources needed to live and work in deep space.
  • Stellar Optics – In this offline activity, kids build a telescope and learn about physics and light, and how telescopes have been used to explore space.
  • Cosmic Claw – Kids work hands-on to engineer a mechanical arm that works to harvest crops in space.
  • Cyber Satellite – In this computer science activity, kids learn about cyber security and decoding to stay safe from obstacles in orbit.

No matter how you celebrate National 4-H Week, remember that you are never too young to keep exploring your passion or to help your community!

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