4-H is growing and is free to join in Oneida County

4-H is growing and is free to join in Oneida County

Lynn2By Lynn Feldman, 4-H Youth Development Educator and County Dept. Head
University of Wisconsin-Extension Oneida County
Phone: 715-365-2750
Email: lynn.feldman@ces.uwex.edu


Afterschool Alliance, in part sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, seeks the latest information related to afterschool programming. A March, 2016 report, developed from a national survey to rural families states that 33% of youth in Wisconsin would be interested in enrolling in an afterschool program if one were available. The report also shows that rural parents feel that their children in all afterschool programming develop social skills; have a reduced likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors; and gain workforce skills such as teamwork, leadership, and critical thinking.

IMG_3625The 4-H national organization has involved TUFTS University in researching the benefits of 4-H out-of-school activities: http://4-h.org/about/research/. This research shows that students involved in 4-H are more likely to give back to a community, make healthier life choices, and are more likely to participate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities.

4-H focuses on these 3 goals with its programming: Positive and sustained relationships between youth and adults, Activities that build important life skills, and Opportunities for youth to use these skills as participants and leaders in valued community activities. Here in Oneida County, for all types of 4-H programming, students are asked to evaluate, at the end of their experience, growth in the same positive youth development areas that TUFTS evaluates: competence, confidence, character, connection and caring. The results consistently show an increase in one or more of these characteristics.

September is the time for youth to re-enroll or enroll for the first time in Oneida County 4-H. There is no enrollment fee, and all youth in grades Kindergarten and up are eligible to sign up. The simple method to enroll is to follow the 4honline.com process.

General funding for the program is generated through Oneida County plat book sales, 4-H Youth Development operating funds, donations, Wisconsin 4-H Foundation scholarships, and fundraising events. Youth only pay for project materials or trips, and even those fees can be partially or fully covered through the funding sources mentioned above. 4-H programming is meant to be accessible to all youth.

There are no certain activities in which 4-H youth are required to participate, since the program is youth driven. Youth choose activities based on their interests and goals. Always families are welcome to each and every event or activity. 4-H depends on adult volunteers to partner with the youth to operate the program. Therefore what group projects or other activities are available are dependent on the adult volunteer resources.

In Oneida County, 4-H is growing. In 2013 there were 48 youth enrolled. This past year that number jumped to 75. Group projects range from shooting sports to Lego robotics. Individual projects span the imagination. Some youth participate in club activities such as creating a parade float, taking on officer roles, or leading games and other social activities. Others take advantage of trips to Space Camp in Alabama or Youth Conference in Madison. 4-H programming interconnects with area schools as volunteers get involved in leading activities right at school locations and work with teachers to determine how 4-H programming can enhance current school curriculum.

For more information on how to increase Oneida County 4-H programming , about 4-H youth enrollment, or about becoming a 4-H certified volunteer, call the UW-Extension Office.

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