Youth leadership is a 4-H tradition

Youth serve in leadership roles and tackle world challenges in their communities.

The National 4-H website includes the history of 4-H. The idea of youth being in leadership roles is deeply rooted in the history of 4-H. According to National 4-H, “4-H opened the door for young people to learn leadership skills and revolutionized how youth connected to practical, hands-on learning experiences outside the classroom.” Youth were leaders in transferring farming knowledge from the land grant universities to their home farms. According to Michigan State University Extension, they learned lessons through 4-H to put research into practice on the farm at home.

Even though many things in 4-H have changed, the idea behind 4-H is still the same in that youth, working with Extension staff and volunteers, learn leadership, citizenship and service while making a difference in their communities all around the nation and even in some other countries. Since 4-H began more than 100 years ago, it has become the nation’s largest youth development organization. Youth clubs were first formed in 1902 in Ohio and the Cooperative Extension Service was formed with the Smith Lever Act in 1914.Finally in 1924, the youth clubs were given the 4-H name and emblem.

Today, 4-H is seven million youth strong and the leadership skills that they are learning and practicing are for even more advanced skills than ever before. 4-H is still prominent in rural communities, but is also found in urban and suburban areas in all states. 4-H members are tackling world challenges in their local communities. The 4-H Revolution of Responsibility recounts the leadership stories as told by 4-H youth on how they have made an impact on their communities. Whether it be raising food for food pantries, sewing colorful pillowcases for young cancer patients or turning used cooking oil into fuel for school busses; youth are using their abilities to change their communities through their 4-H experiences.

Youth are learning leadership skills through their 4-H experiences as they work with caring adults which is an unbeatable combination! To fin out more about your state 4-H program, visit the National 4-H Website.

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