1. Education: 4-H is education for life that uses a hands-on approach. 4-H prepares youth for higher education and potential careers by emphasizing life skills such as problem solving and critical thinking. When members participate in activities such as creating a project or developing a nutritional plan for livestock, learning is taking place without being noticed. 4-H has a special way of creating many learning experiences that are fun and engaging for 4-H members. It has been proven that 4-H members are two times more likely to get better grades in school and are two times more likely to attend college than individuals that don’t partake in 4-H.
2. Companionship: 4-H members share many common interests with one another such as static projects, livestock, or working exhibits. There is always another 4-H or family member that shares the same interests. Common interests are quite often the foundation for creating lifelong friendships and memories. Friendships like these will follow through a life journey beginning with sharing the accomplishment of a first 4-H project to the acceptance of a first job. Over the years, these friends may drift in different directions but one thing remains in common –the 4-H experience.
3. Interpersonal Communication: It would be very hard to believe that a 4-H member had never felt the slightest bit nervous when approaching a judge that would make the decision on the outcome of their project. Or that they never worried about answering any of the judge’s questions and providing good explanations. Little do 4-H’ers know, that these interactions are similar to real world interview experiences. Goal cards transform into resumes, projects turn into work experiences, and judges are now potential employers. It may get a little nerve-racking when participating in this kind of confrontation, but through previous experiences through 4-H, confidence can be gained for future endeavors!
4. Leadership: It’s easy to think back to when the first leadership experience obtained was being the vice president of a 4-H club. Leadership responsibilities of being the vice president of a 4-H club were taken very seriously. Today, job responsibilities are similar to that of the responsibilities of a 4-H club vice president previously. 4-H members were inspired by leadership in the same way co-workers are inspired by the leadership of a boss. The 4-H program helps to make 4-H members the best leaders that they can be.
5. Steadfast Determination: When walking out of the show ring with what seems to be nothing, the value of raw determination was learned. These 4-H experiences have taught something that the best rewards in life are not being the champion and winning the trophies, but setting the mind to do something and putting forth the best effort. In life, we can’t change things we don’t have control over, but we can control how we respond to them. Having the determination to set and achieve goals is yet another benefit of the 4-H program. Youth have the potential to succeed with their goals when they set their mind to it.