VALLEY — For the 75th consecutive year, millions of youth, parents, volunteers and alumni across the country will be celebrating National 4-H Week during the first full week of October. San Luis Valley 4-H is celebrating with various events around the valley, including a 4-H Open House event on Tuesday, October 3. This free event, held from 5-7 p.m. at HobbyTown in Alamosa, will showcase some of the projects 4-H offers, and will feature fun hands-on activities for attendees.
In addition to the general 4-H Open House, we’ll be running activities at the High Valley Community Center in Del Norte, and the Boys and Girls Club in Center. We’ll also host a second SLV 4-H Robotics Open House on October 5, from 5-7 p.m. at HobbyTown. All of these events are designed to give youth a taste of what the 4-H program has to offer.
4-H is the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization. Through community clubs, and outreach programs, youth participants develop life skills while “learning by doing” through work on various projects, such as cake decorating, robotics, livestock, woodworking, shooting sports, and sewing. The program cultivates confident kids who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities right now.
In the San Luis Valley, more than 300 youth, ages 5 to 18, and 65 volunteers from the community are involved in 4 H. While livestock projects remain our most popular, we’ve also been recognized for our outstanding team-based robotics program, which serves 30 youth each year.
We also have experienced leaders in a number of areas such as horse, dog, woodworking and shooting sports. Youth in these areas excel at local and regional competitions due to the training and support they receive from their volunteer leaders.
In addition to project work, 4-H youth have opportunities to take on leadership positions in their clubs and communities. Kids run meetings, plan events, and help with education and outreach activities. 4-H members also practice public speaking, and do community service projects to improve their world.
4-H alumni around the country are always the first to acknowledge the significant positive impact 4-H had on them as young people; the opportunities and experiences that 4-H provides youth empower them to become true leaders. In fact, research has shown that young people in 4-H are almost four times as likely to contribute to their communities, and are twice as likely to make healthier life choices than their non-4-H peers.
Alumni and community members can help support 4-H during National 4-H Week at the Alamosa Tractor Supply store. From October 4 to 15 they’ll be hosting the Fall Paper Clover fundraiser. To participate, you can buy a $1 paper clover at checkout. Proceeds raised come back to the local and state 4-H programs to be used for scholarships for camps and other leadership events. Attending these camps and conferences gives local youth invaluable experiences that serve them for a lifetime.
Camps and conferences are just a small part of our larger 4-H program. I encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about SLV 4-H to join us at our 4-H Open House on October 3. We’re always looking for new members and volunteers to help embody our motto: “to make the best better”. The Open House will run from 5-7 p.m. at HobbyTown’s Community Room. HobbyTown is located at 3211 Main Street in Alamosa. Attendees can drop in anytime during the event to explore program offerings, get hands-on with fun activities, and meet members, volunteers and program staff. We hope to see you there.
Amy Henschen is the 4-H Youth Development Agent for Colorado State University Extension. To find out more about Extension and the 4-H program visit http://sanluisvalley.colostate.edu or call 719-852-7381. Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.