by Mary Ellen Cash
The Collier County 4H organization is the largest youth group in the county. The total number of youth participating in School Enrichment Programs, Special Interest/Short Term Programs, Day Camping Programs and Community Clubs numbers 6613! The 4H vision is to create a world in which youth and adults learn, grow, and work together as catalysts for positive change.
Youth in 4H report better grades, higher levels of academic competence, an elevated level of engagement in school, and are two times more likely to plan to go to college to pursue a degree in science, engineering, or computer technology than their peers.
Florida 4H is the statewide youth development program of the University of Florida IFAS Extension and the only program with direct access to technological advances from university research.
The 4-Hs signify *Head (managing, thinking), *Heart (relating, caring), *Hands (giving, working) and *Health (being, living). The state sponsored program empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults. Students participate in hands-on, discovery learning educational programs.
There are three primary program areas: science, engineering and technology, healthy living; and citizenship/leadership. All programming is designed to help students build skills that will increase their personal confidence and competence while building character and self-sufficiency. Collier County 4H partners with Collier County Public Schools to fund after school programs in Animal Science, Agriculture in the Classroom, Archery Club, Animal Husbandry or Livestock groups whose animals are auctioned annually in the County Fair. Marine Science and Aquatic Sciences is a favorite. A total of 311 children learned about Sport Fishing and 75 worked on Environmental Science as part of the 4H in the Classroom program. Weather & Climate attracted 373 students. Each year students learn about State laws and regulations governing fishing, and wet lands preservation. There were 300 students involved in Arts and Crafts, to include Sewing and Clothing & Textiles and 248 participated in Public Speaking. Food Prep and Cooking had 14 participants and 6 students learned about Breads & Bread making.
The newest and most requested program is Robotics. Last year 218 students built their own robots. Many more students would like to continue in this program. The second phase is the actual programming of the Robot. All programs are limited due to funding.
The funding for Collier County 4H is done through the 4H Foundation. Individual clubs raise funds by selling baked goods, doing car washes, and are now planning a 4H Cookbook. The largest fundraising by the foundation is done through the Farm City BBQ, where the students sell bags of vegetables. If you are interested in helping to support and grow 4H in Collier County contact Jim Ruesink, President of the 4H Foundation, at the IFAS Extension, 239.252.4802.
THE 4-H PLEDGE
I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
And my health to better living,
For my club, my community, my country and my world.