The El Dorado County 4-H Youth Development Program started again. Tomorrow’s leaders are being groomed today.
For many generations the organization has empowered young people to become more confident and competent.
So what makes the 4-H Youth Program special?
The young people taking part can turn almost anything they’re interested in into a project.
The program has 60 adult leaders who help with the 4-H’ers projects such as raising an animal, building rockets, leadership training, organizing a fundraiser, presenting projects in front of the county’s Board of Supervisors and more.
There are also community service projects like cleaning up trash in a park, working with elders or arranging a blood drive. All help young people to mature and become strong and caring adults who will contribute to their community.
“Tuft University’s ’4-H Study of Positive Youth Development’ indicates that young people in 4-H are three times more likely to contribute to their communities than youth not participating in 4-H,” said Tracy Celio, youth development program representative.
On a local level 4-H members echo the positive aspects of the many programs.
“4-H is a great opportunity to become a leader and learn new things that you can’t do in school. … As a staff member for a regional leadership conference on the coast, I met a ton of great people from all over California that are in 4-H. I’ve gotten comfortable speaking in front of large groups, including singing in a band, because of the practice I got in the public speaking project,” said P.J. Repetto, 15, a Union Mine High School junior.
A major component of the 4-H model is taking a student’s interests and building positives lessons from that hobby or special focus.
Devan S. Martin, El Dorado County 4-H All Star, said, “4-H is great because you learn leadership through doing the hobbies that you love. The best part is that everybody is there for the same reason, to have fun and learn new things through the projects.”
One of the main lessons resonating from many of the 4-H members is learning about leadership.
“4-H has helped me to become a better leader and to realize that leading isn’t taking over, it’s about guiding and encouraging people to help reach goals,” said Anna Marie Repetto, 13, a Herbert Green eighth grader. ”We do a lot of community service in 4-H, and I like knowing that I’m helping to make El Dorado County a better place.”
Hard work is rewarding to 4-H participants.
“My favorite activity in 4-H is beef. I worked hard this year with my steer, Wilson, and we won Supreme Grand Champion at the county fair,” Anna said.
There is a positive sustainable aspect of the program. A lot of previous participants appreciated the life lessons so much that they later became adult leaders.
Do you have a skill to share with today’s youth? 4-H is actively seeking adult volunteers to lead projects. Leading a project requires just two hours a month. Several of the areas that 4-H is looking to expanding offering in web design, geo-caching or GIS/GPS, the arts, Spanish language, robotics and hiking.