Eye on Extension: Easy ways to support positive youth development

VALLEY — The 4-H program works to bring positive youth development to kids in the San Luis Valley. We do this through community clubs, partnerships, and out-of-school programs. These hands-on programs teach youth skills to succeed at school, home, and work. There are two really easy opportunities this month to support the 4-H program in our community.

Customers at Alamosa’s Tractor Supply store can support SLV 4-H by purchasing a $1 paper clover at checkout through April 22. The funds raised will be awarded as scholarships to individual 4-H members wishing to attend 4-H camps and leadership conferences across the country.

Since it began in 2010, the partnership between Tractor Supply and 4-H has generated more than $11,000,000 in essential funding. The Paper Clover fundraiser, which takes place in the spring and fall, raised over $981,000 nationally during the Fall 2017 campaign.

Local 4-H members have been able to attend camps like South Central District Retreat, State 4-H Conference, Leadership Development Camp and Dare to Be You at a steep discount because of these funds. That’s allowed us to increase participation in these impactful events.

Another way to support the 4-H program is to participate in the Raise Your Hand campaign, though May 15. During this time 4-H supports can visit https://4-h.org/raise-your-hand/ and fill out a quick voting form to participate. Cast your ballot for Colorado and the state 4-H program could win $20,000, $10,000 or $5,000.

The top 3 states with the most votes will win funding to help them expand the impact of their programs. In last year’s contest, Ohio took the top prize with nearly 12,000 votes. Knowing how many Coloradans have been impacted by the 4-H program, I know we have a shot at taking home one of the top prizes.

Take time to go cast your vote and consider sharing your support on your social media pages to encourage others to participate.

The Raise Your Hand contest is part of a campaign by the National 4-H Council to bring 4-H to 10 million youth by 2025. Currently the program serves 6 million youth, making it the largest youth development program in the nation. In the San Luis Valley, more than 300 youth participate in 4-H through clubs and outreach programs.

Youth ages 5 to 7 can get a taste of the type of hands-on learning the 4-H program offers at the April Cloverbuds meeting. At the session, Saturday April 21 from 3 to 4:30 pm at the HobbyTown Rec Room in Alamosa, youth will learn about the model rocketry project. They’ll make stomp rockets, and learn about thrust and lift. The cost is $10 per youth and includes supplies and a snack. RSVP to [email protected] or 719-852-7381 by Wednesday, April 18 to participate.

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.

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