"Isn't 4-H just for people that live on farms?"
That's a question I get asked a lot! It's definitely not just for people that live on farms.
We live in a high rise condo in Downtown, and Millie is quite involved in 4-H. There is a club in our county, which is very urban, but we chose to go out to the next county over so she could get a different kind of experience.
Here's why we love it so much:
A Great Group of Friends
The kids in our 4-H are amazing. The group is so inclusive of everyone, welcoming, and supportive. Seriously. They give me faith in humanity.
Experiences I Can't Provide
Throughout the year, our county offers amazing classes and camps, taught by experts in their field. I wouldn't be able to teach Millie how to make a solar car or paint Ukrainian eggs, but she was able to have the experience of learning about those things because of 4-H.
It has been proven that sending your kids to overnight camp in the summer is a great way for kids to build confidence, try things outside their comfort level, make new friends, strengthen bonds with old friends, and learn ridiculous camp songs that they'll continue to sing for weeks after camp :) The 4-H camp that Millie went to was very affordable. We were able to send her to an overnight camp experience that she otherwise wouldn't be able to participate in.
So much public speaking! It's not just limited to giving demonstrations in front of our 4-H group, but also giving demonstrations in front of a judge at fair time and participating in plays. Millie has never been a shy kid, but getting these opportunities brings her out of her shell a bit more.
Enter fair time! The kids compete against other kids in the county for ribbons, and a chance to go to the State Fair. The kids are driven to do their best work, put together their best presentations, and speak in front of a judge. The encouragement that the kids get from their fellow competitors is very sportsmanlike!
What if Lewis and Clark hadn't kept detailed records of their journey? So much history would be lost! I'm not saying 4-H is of Lewis and Clark proportion, or anything, but it is a good example of why keeping records to look back on in the future, is important. In 4-H, kids are encouraged to keep records of the activities they do through the entire year. At the end of the 4-H year, the kids can turn in their records to be judged, and can win a ribbon for it. Ribbon or not, it's fun to look back on. I'm sure Millie will like to remember her first year as an official 4-H'er. She had quite a year!
There are so many groups the kids can be in! No matter what they're interested in, there is something fun for kids to participate in. Shooting sports, clothing project, food project, wildlife, various animals, etc.
This is why 4-H is the single most important activity in Millie's world. She even chooses this over dance! Wow.
Of course, it's not just for big kids. The have Cloverbuds (which Elise participates in), that is for kids K-2. They don't get judged, but they get to participate in the county fair, plays, camps, cloverbud day camps, and other special cloverbud activities. Elise has made great friends, too.
We love 4-H!!