This week marks Nationals 4-H week. Over one hundred years have passed since the inception of 4-H. Generations of alumni express pride when relating their experiences. Whether they remem-ber attending camp at Jekyll, DPA at Rock Eagle, State Congress in Atlanta, or a livestock show at Perry, alumni remember their experiences fondly and the skills that they gained through 4-H. Many of these alumni are our country’s leaders today. The skills that youth learn will help them get set for life.
4-H is a family oriented club. We encourage parents and volunteers to share time and talents to help 4-H’ers “learn by doing.” Youth become contributing members of Gordon County through their many community service activities such as Rivers Alive.
4-H’ers learn leadership skills through activities such as 4-H Day at the Capitol. These citizenship and leadership activities train them to be responsible citizens and leaders for the future.
“The 4-H Program offers tons of project areas which teach you the necessary skills for college and afterwards; the fun you have while learning is just a bonus! When I joined 4-H six years ago, college was the last thing on my mind, but joining was one of the smartest moves I have ever made to pre-pare me for further education,” said Katie Sutherland.
More than 1200 4-H members from 5th through 12th grade are enrolled in Gordon County 4-H from both the Gordon County and Calhoun City School Systems. The Extension 4-H Agent and 4-H Pro-gram Assistants meet with 4-H members through in-school educational programs in 5th-8th grades, after school, home school and summer programs.
In 2009, more than 200,000 youth participated in Georgia 4-H programs. Besides projects and com-petitions, members can go to camps and events all over the state and nation. Special UGA athletic events as well as camps at the beach, in the mountains, city and even trips to Washington, D.C. offer exciting ways for students to learn while having fun.
In Gordon County, our 4-H activities this year included Livestock Judging, Dairy Judging, Poultry Judging, Horse Quiz Bowl, Cotton Boll/Consumer Jamboree, Beef, Goat, Horse and Lamb Show Pro-jects, Service Learning Projects, S.A.F.E. Shooting Sports Program, District Project Achievement, Summer Camps, Day Camps and much more.
Gordon County 4-H’ers help the community, but they also need help from the community. They need support through funding, volunteers, and guidance in their project areas.
“A few of our volunteer-led activities are the S.A.F.E. Program including the Shotgun Team and BB Team, Horse Quiz Bowl and the Horse Show Team. Without the help of all our wonderful volun-teers these programs would not be the success that they are today,” said Beth Carlan-Watson, County Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development.
Many volunteers are 4-H alumni and know the benefits of 4-H personally. When asked about their 4-H experience, most 4-H volunteers state that they use the skills learned on a daily basis. They remember what 4-H meant to them as a youth and want to help today’s youth have the same experi-ences and opportunities.
“I don’t know what we’d do without our volunteers,” Carlan-Watson said. “They work with our 4-H’ers on so many projects and teams.”
“I joined 4-H when I was nine years old. Some of the most memorable moments growing up were on 4-H trips including camping at livestock shows, DPA, and traveling with our Livestock Judging Team. During my time in 4-H, I met friends that I will never forget and a lot who I still talk with regularly,” said Kurt Sutherland, Gordon County 4-H assistant.
“Personally, 4-H has carried me many places I never thought I would have been. Showing with 4-H can take one to places one never dreamt of traveling and meeting people one would never think of coming into contact with,” said Megan Pass, who competes in dressage through 4-H.
“4-H is fun but we know that our future is important as well! We are able to win scholarship money by what we participate in and how much we participate,” said Cole Swims. “I was able to help with rabies clinics, clean up our rivers and streams, go to the zoo, and to many day camp activi-ties. When the fair comes to town, we all help decorate a booth and get judged on it.”
“I would like to challenge you to become a volunteer for the best youth organization in our na-tion. Why not make a step towards making the best better in our community as a 4-H volunteer?” said Carlan-Watson.
Contact Beth Carlan-Watson at the Gordon County Extension office at 706-629-8685 for more in-formation.