2018-10-10 / Other News

It’s National 4-H Week!

This week, Oct. 7-14, is National 4-H Week. It is a time to reflect on not only the history of the 4-H Club but how far we have come and how it continues to serve youth through educational programming.

The 4-H Club began as the Boys Corn Club in 1904, where boys planted corn and cared for their crop and exhibited it in the fair. In 1908 the girls began their own club called the Girls Tomato Canning Club, where girls grew their own tomatoes in their home gardens and canned the tomatoes for competition. In 1914 Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service and brought the Boys Corn Club and Girls Tomato Canning Club together to form what we know as the 4- H Club.

4-H is a youth organization that can be found in every state across the United States. In Georgia, 4-H reaches approximately 200,000 youth each year and focuses on the positive development of the four essential elements: Mastery, Generosity, Belonging, and Independence. This is accomplished through club meetings, projects, programs, and activities with some activities held in-school and others after-school. 4-H provides research-based information, opportunities to learn by doing and access to a variety of programs. These experiences help prepare each generation for the workplace, and for life.

With its beginnings rooted in Agriculture, 4- H continues to teach the importance of Agriculture and its most current technological advances, science (including life sciences), healthy living, human development, citizenship, and leadership to name a few.

While 4-H has been in existence for 104 years, 4-H in Early County was not established until 1918. Below is an excerpt from the book “Early County in 2018,” a historical collection of records celebrating Early County’s bicentennial year.

(Excerpt from “Early County in 2018) The first record of 4-H in Early County was the third annual County Fair held on Dec. 3-7, 1918. So not only are we celebrating 200 years of Early County in 2018, we are also celebrating 100 years of 4-H in Early County. Throughout the course of its history, Early County has been proud to claim many successful 4-H members. The highest achievement one can receive is becoming a Master 4- H’er. Early County has fifteen that have achieved this status. They are Wayne Balkcom, Dan Blackshear, Jenny (Kimbrel) Bodrey, Jody Glass, Michael Griffin, Angie Haddock, Myrna (Bruner) Hinson, Rhonda (Waller) Keve, Glynnis (Glass) McIntyre, Carole Montfort, Katrina Smith, Natalie Smith- Ealey, Marilyn (Waller) Tedder, Lewis Thompson and Fred Waller.

The 4-H slogan is “Learn by Doing,” and that’s just what Early County 4-H’ers do through monthly in-school club meetings, participating in Project Achievement, learning how to raise and show livestock, being a team member on one of our S.A.F.E. shooting sports teams (archery and shotgun), participating in community service projects, attending conferences, summer camps and summer activities and the list goes on. 4-H provides the opportunity for the youth of Early County to experience real life learning by participating in educational programs related to science, healthy living, communication, citizenship and leadership. These programs help 4- H members master their chosen fields of study, gain independence and develop a sense of generosity to help others. 4-H Agent Stephanie Benton is a former 4-H’er who knows the importance of giving our youth the necessary tools to help them to develop life skills and succeed. She continues to work to “Make the Best Better.”

References: Early County in 2018. (2018); Essential Elements, 4- H Youth Development. UGA Cooperative Extension; Introduction to 4- H (2018). Friends. UGA Cooperative Extension

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