At every 4-H meeting, members recite the 4-H pledge. They pledge their “hands to larger service”, for their clubs, communities, countries and world. The holiday season is a time that many of our 4-H members put this pledge into action. All over the county, our 4-H members are giving back to their communities. These acts of service are instilling a sense of responsibility, respect, compassion and empowering 4-H youth with the skills that they need to lead for a lifetime.
Over the next few weeks, Harvey County 4-H members will be serving as bell ringers for salvation army, participating in adopt-a-family initiatives, Christmas caroling and gathering for holiday celebrations. Participation in 4-H events like these develop citizenship skills and empower youth to become informed and engaged in their communities. The 4-H clubs that conduct these events are made up of youth, parents, grandparents, volunteers. These groups help youth to develop relationships with others in their communities.
The overall well-being of a child is largely determined by their perceived satisfaction in relationships with others. A sense of belonging motivates young people to show respect and concern, as well as make them more receptive to guidance from caring adults.
Recently, the Kansas 4-H Impact study surveyed 2,600 Kansas youth ages 8-18 years old, from both rural areas and cities. The survey was used to provide concrete evidence of Kansas 4-H’s effectiveness. The survey determined that 96% of 4-H members reported they can make a difference through community service and 97% reported a strong desire to help others.
4-H learning experiences and service events like those happening around Harvey County this month will enhance young people’s abilities to grow into tomorrow’s leaders and communicators. The structured learning environment combined with encouragement and mentoring allows 4-H programming to play a vital role in helping our youth achieve future success.