There’s a laudatory article on the many benefits of 4-H in the May–June issue of the Hawai‘i Island-focused Ke Ola Magazine—appropriate, since “ola” can mean “health,” and that’s just what one of the four H’s stands for. The article quotes state 4-H program leader Jeff Goodwin, who estimated that 4-H reaches about 1,300 kids on the Big Island alone, with activities relating to animals, robotics, riflery and archery, agriculture, cooking, sewing, gardening, and more—something for every youth, and just about every youth could probably benefit from this century-old yet future-focused youth-development program.
East Hawai‘i’s 4-H Extension agent Becky Settlage adds that an important aspect of 4-H is the community service in which its participants engage: local clubs have visited the elderly, cleaned up beaches, cared for dogs made homeless by last year’s volcanic eruptions, and helped out at farms. A Kona club is now working on a food-gardening project to benefit a homeless shelter.
The article also describes the livestock activities that more people may traditionally associate with 4-H—youth can work with horses and raise cattle, hogs, goats, lambs, and other livestock for show and sale. This teaches them a variety of attitudes and skills, from responsibility and poise to record-keeping and budgeting.
With all these great benefits to youth and the community, many parents would probably like to get their children involved in 4-H. But adult volunteers are needed to keep the clubs going, the article emphasizes. Interested in enrolling your child in 4-H or offering your own time and skills to mentor others? Find out more about 4-H here!