Monday, June 17, 2013

Is the 4-h Club dying?

By 2020 the Jamaica 4-H Clubs will become the leading youth leadership organization in the Caribbean.

The goal of 4-H Club is to develop citizenship, foster youth leadership, responsibility and life skills of youth through experiential learning programs and a positive youth development approach. Though typically thought of as an agriculturally focused organization as a result of its history, 4-H Club today focuses on citizenship, healthy living, science, engineering, and technology programs

The foundations of 4-H Club began around the start of the twentieth century, with the work of several people in different parts of the United States. The focal point of 4-H Club has been the idea of practical mentoring programs for youth and hands-on learning, which came from the desire to make public school education more connected to rural life. Early programs tied both public and private resources together to benefit rural youth.

The 4-H Club  program aims to educate youth in arts and sciences and encourage fellowship through,community youth programs and service opportunities. With continued urban sprawl, 4-H Clubs continues to develop new projects like life skills for youth for its members well beyond the traditional agriculture, animal husbandry,  photography, conservation, cooking, public speaking, sports shooting , history, art, leadership program for youth and other life skills.

4-h membership hit an all-time high in 1974 as a result of its popular educational program about nutrition, Mulligan Stew, shown in schools and on television across the country. Today, 4-h clubs and activities are no longer focused primarily on agricultural activities, instead emphasizing personal growth and preparation for lifelong learning. Participation is greatest during the elementary school years, with enrollment in programs and activities peaking in the 4th grade.

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."

The Jamaica 4-H Clubs is now in its 73rd year of existence and over that time we have distinguished ourselves as an organization to be reckoned with. Our reputation and our proven track record in training the nation’s youth is a standard not to be taken lightly. At this juncture, there has been a change of the guard in terms of leadership. On May 1, 2013 the mantle was transferred to me, so I have taken up the task of standard bearer. It is a task that I am deeply honored to receive and I humbly accept.

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