Top 10 Benefits from involvement in the 4 H community
- For someone on the ASD spectrum – help to work harder, provide social events, get over being messy
- Self confidence – not afraid to try new and hard things
- Community of individuals who put forth effort in a job well done
- Kids work hard to better themselves and improve their scores
- Know how to conduct an interview and give public speeches
- Have adults that surround them that encourage them to do their best
- Create a love of learning things that interest them
- Being surrounded by people who are interested in the same things.
- Benefits after high school – job opportunity, scholarships
- Sale of their animals helps with saving for College – Riley’s steer has paid for her first 18 hours of college.
As I have previously posted, 4H is a HUGE part of our family’s lives. I cannot imagine where we would be without it’s impact on our lives.
And since I love it so much I have become an adult project leader. I want to help get as many families involved in the program as possible.
At the end of each season in everything we do (sports, school, 4H), I always take time to evaluate if this is a worthwhile activity for our family to take part in next year. As I sat down, I quickly listed these Top 10 Ways 4H benefits our family.
This first benefit is HUGE for us. One of our children is on the autistic spectrum. When we moved here, he hated to have messy hands and having any drops of water on him. He couldn’t have dirt on him. He had a very specific way he wanted things to happen. He would do what he knew he was able to do but wouldn’t branch out into the unknown. If it didn’t follow his ideals, he would have a big meltdown.
Being part of 4H and working with his animals has changed him 180 degrees! He knows that he needs his gloves and boots but he will now get dirty! He’ll help clean out our chicken coops, feed pigs, gather eggs, washes his steers all of which equals LOTS of poop.
To help ASD kids, they need to be guided through lots of social settings. 4H provides this as all these kids are here to learn about the same interests – either shooting sports, robotics, working together on a community service project. My guy’s therapists released him from their services after this fair because he is handling himself SO well in social situations now.
With all my kids, 4H has given them confidence to try anything. You want to learn about beekeeping – Do it! Learn about Vet sciences to see if you want to be a vet – Here ya go! Raise a steer to save for college – here are the tools and leaders you need to talk to and now go do it!
Along with learning confidence, the kids also continue their love of learning. My son did Wildlife Science this year and it was quite in-depth. It also helped narrow what he wants to go to college for – to be a biologist. Kaylee studied entomology (bugs) for two years and learned a lot.
These projects have all been hard work. With Beekeeping, Kaylee got stung a lot. Training steers has taken us to the ER at least 2 times for x-rays. But it has taught them to complete a hard project! And there are rewards through it.
Through these hard things, they also learn how to do a job well done. In most projects (other than showing animals) they are judged against themselves. Like a test in school – how well do you know the information and how well do you share it? If I want a blue or purple ribbon, then I need to put forth the effort to get it.
At each 4H meeting, we recite the pledge of allegiance and the 4H Pledge. As 4Hers, we pledge to help our community so we do at least one service project to help our community. This teaches our kids that we need to care for those around us.
An extremely practical benefit is that my kids are not afraid of interviews and giving public demonstrations. As their mom and leader, I make my kids do interviews for EACH of their projects and then they have to do a public demonstration on an aspect of their project that they want to share with other club members. For example, in scrapbooking, Kaylee showed how to create color palettes. In wildlife sciences, Bodie shared about degrees of endangerment of animals in Idaho. This helped my oldest as she interviewed for jobs. She said it was not scary because she had interviewed so many times already in her life.
The sale check of their market animals are helping to contribute to the kids’ college savings account. By the end of this school year, Riley’s steers will have paid for 25 hours of credits of college. Her steers alone will pay for her associate’s degree!! And the other two kids will do the same, along with paying for their first cars, since they started younger than she did. This is SUCH a blessing to us. They learn to do hard jobs and learn how much things in life cost – like cars and college.
The leaders surround our kids with encouragement and help them strive to do their best. I love having other adults helping my kids to work hard to do their best. Then is it not just Mom being a nag.
It is hard raising children and having to wait to see the results if you did it correctly. But I am already seeing results in the 4H endeavor. My oldest was given her first serious job. Through her 4H experience, she was awarded the position to be an AmeriCorps Positive Youth Development Instructor. She is working with our 4H extension office to lead youth in STEM programs. She is planning curriculum, leading classes and evaluating the students along with earning a stipend and college tuition credit. What a blessing!
I encourage all families to be part of the 4H program. There are SO many blessings!