Celebrate the role 4-H youth plays in making our community a better place.

The importance of agriculture is abundant – from the food we eat, the major industries it supports and the benefits it provides to our environment. But looking ahead, in order for agriculture to continue to advance, it’s essential to educate and inspire young minds, invest in the next generation and turn today’s youth into tomorrow’s leaders.

That’s where youth agriculture organizations come in.

According to Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply Company, the nation’s largest rural lifestyle retailer, the future of farming is in the hands of these young leaders. “Organizations like the 4-H and FFA play an integral role in educating youth and fostering the importance that agriculture plays within our society,” said Korzekwa. “It’s important to inspire these young members while providing opportunities to showcase their achievements and form strong relationships within their communities.”

There are over 150 different projects that 4-H members may choose from. Here in Monroe County, popular projects include horses, veterinary science, pet care, entomology, sewing and photography. Have a child interested in joining? Here are some questions for them to consider.

Is 4-H right for me?

Do you like to be with old friends and meet new ones, have fun and explore your interests, make new things and enjoy new activities? Then 4-H is right for you.

4-H Programs teach young people how to put their heads, hands and health to work in their own lives and in their communities

Are you adventurous?

4-H members can work with others on projects in their community or project clubs, in their schools, or with other organizations. They can go to camp show their work at fairs, travel, and host international youth. They can meet their legislators, participate in county, regional, state and national opportunities and additional learning experiences. They can attend meetings and other events at Penn State youth events and more!

Do you enjoy hands-on learning?

The 4-H slogan is “learn by doing.” 4-H is an educational program, so you are encouraged to try new things for yourself and get involved in doing things you like to do. This teaches you to think and learn and apply what you learn to your life. You can then make better decisions, gain new skills, develop self-esteem, give back to your community, and grow up to be a good citizen.

What would you like to learn about?

More than 150 “learn-by-doing projects and activities await you when you become a 4-H member or adult leader. For example, you can make something, develop a skill, raise or train a small or large animal, launch rockets, photograph wildlife, cook, sew, learn about geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS), or serve your community.

As you explore a topic you can gain knowledge related to your project and practical skills to use throughout your life—problem solving, decision-making, and communicating, and working with others.

You will be encouraged to record your learning experiences so you can evaluate your progress and note your accomplishments. You may also give written and oral demonstrations about your project and participate in judging and other contests involving your project.

4-H projects can be rewarded with scholarships, prizes, awards and special recognition. An adult 4-H volunteer who will be the project leader will guide your work.

4-H programs are administered in Pennsylvania by Penn State Extension, 4-H is a community of more than 6 million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. Penn State Extension 4-H youth development educators in all 67 counties throughout the commonwealth administer local 4-H programs through non-formal education and outreach.

To find your local program, visit the Penn State Extension website at extension.psu.edu/programs/4-h.