4-H Youth Development Program in Idaho County
The week of March 13 – 19 marks the celebration of Idaho County 4-H Week. This annual event provides recognition and visibility to the members, parents and volunteer leaders involved in the Idaho County 4-H program. 4-H Week is also intended to be a recruitment tool for the Idaho County 4-H Program. Clubs are organizing and inviting new members to become involved in the 4-H experience.
The 4-H Party kicked off Idaho County 4-H Week on Saturday, March 12th at the Grangeville Armory. This annual “penny arcade” is intended to provide an opportunity for clubs to set up carnival-type booths of all kinds. 4-H’ers and their friends enjoyed a hamburger barbecue lunch prepared by the Idaho/Lewis County Cattle Association at the conclusion of the games. Lunch was sponsored by the Idaho/Lewis County Cattle Association, and the Idaho County Wheat Growers Association
The 4-H Program is a youth development program for youth ages 8 to 19. Though 4-H was originally instituted to aid farm families, it has evolved to include members far from rural communities. Project areas have grown from the original livestock, cooking and sewing to include horsemanship, rocketry, entomology, and guide dogs, just to name a few.
The goals of 4-H are to provide opportunities for young people to develop responsibility and leadership skills, improve their public speaking ability, and to gain self-confidence. 4-H’ers learn by individual project efforts, working with other club members, and by devoting time to community service.
In the state of Idaho, 5,247 adult volunteer leaders work with 30,404 youth enrolled in the 4-H Program. Last year the Idaho County 4-H Program enrolled 420 members and 86 adult volunteer leaders. Over 700 4-H projects were exhibited at the Idaho County Fair and over 60 4-H members participated in the Idaho County 4-H Horse Show in 2004.
The projects in the Idaho County 4-H Program are often grouped into the four major project areas of Livestock, Horse, Family and Consumer Science, and Specialty
Through the livestock projects the members learn responsibility by caring for their animal. Members also develop record keeping skills while completing the record book that is a required part of their 4-H exhibit.
The 4-H clothing program has changed focus in the last number of years. Many 4-H’ers still enroll in so called “traditional” sewing projects however, the emphasis is now on helping 4-H’ers develop their creative interests as well as their sewing skills.
Another clothing project that has been popular is the “Making the Most of Me Series”. This 5 year program is designed to help youth select, purchase, coordinate, and care for purchased outfits. The skills 4-H’ers develop in this program can be utilized throughout life, since now most clothing is purchased and not sewn.
The foods and nutrition program has also changed focus in the last several years. Many projects now focus on personal fitness and development of healthy lifestyles. Foods projects often emphasize nutritional components of a meal and provide suggestions for how to reduce fat or increase fiber. These projects also emphasize quick and easy food preparation and food safety.
Included in this area are projects such as woodworking, entomology, leather-craft, photography, and a myriad of other diverse and interesting projects. The specialty project area will continue to be increasingly popular as the 4-H Program continues to expand.
How to Become Involved in the Idaho County 4-H Youth Development Program
If you would like to become a member of the 4-H program, or if you would like to be a volunteer leader, you can call the Idaho County Extension Office at 983-2667.