The Times West Virginian

Opinion

October 9, 2013

4-H members make difference in their communities and in their own futures

Head. Heart. Hands. Health.

Members of 4-H clubs use their heads by making smart decisions.

They use their hearts by treating others with respect.

They use their hands by recognizing the impor­tance of community service and generosity.

And they use their health by focusing on it in the physical, mental and spiritual aspects.

Together, the four “h” words comprise the core values that members of 4-H work on, evident in the pledge they recite: “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world.”

This week, there’s an even brighter focus on that pledge as club members, parents, organizers and volunteers across the country celebrate head, heart, hands and health as part of National 4-H Week. Annually observed dur­ing the first full week of October, the week­long celebration is a chance to promote 4-H and what it stands for, as well as the benefits of joining a 4-H club.

According to 4-H.org, the organization boasts 540,000 volunteers, 3,500 professionals and more than 60 million alumni.

Locally, Marion County is served by the Barrackville 4-H Club,    Barrackville Cloverbuds, Baxter 4-H Club, Baxter Cloverbuds, Cross Roads 4-H Club, Cross Roads Cloverbuds, Eldora 4-H Club, Eldora Cloverbuds, Fairview 4-H Club, Fairview Cloverbuds, Mannington 4-H Club, Mannington Cloverbuds, Metz 4-H Club, Monongah 4-H Club, Monongah Cloverbuds, Plum Run 4-H Club, Plum Run Cloverbuds, Winfield’s Right Combination and Winfield’s Right Combination Cloverbuds.

You’ve probably seen the club members picking up trash along the side of the road as part of a highway-adoption program. Or maybe you’ve seen them volunteering at a car wash.

But that’s just the beginning.

Members in 4-H clubs have access to science programs that tackle national and global issues such as climate change, workforce development and technological innovation. They become well-informed citizens through citizenship programs that teach them to lead, make decisions and contribute to their communities. Healthy living programs address issues such as childhood obesity, substance abuse and physical safety.

Being a member of 4-H pays off in the long run, too.

Studies suggest that kids who are involved with 4-H achieve higher grades in school, are more likely to attend college and pursue careers in science, engineering or computer technology, are more likely than peers to positively contribute to their communities and are less likely to participate in risky behaviors such as drug use.

It makes sense to be involved with 4-H, and we salute the members of Marion County’s 4-H clubs as they work to make a difference not only in their communities, but in their futures as well.

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