NDSU Extension - Morton County


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April 16, 2018 4-H Experiences

Karla Meikle, Extension Agent

Dates to Remember

April 19                      Morton County Fair Board Meeting, New Salem 7:30pm
April 23                      Youth for the Quality Care of Animals Training (4-H)
May 8, 15, 22              Caring for Kids, Mandan

4-H Experiences

When you think of 4-H, what is the first thing that comes to mind?  The most frequent response I get is I cannot be in 4-H because I do not live on a farm and do not have cows.  While true, 4-H started as an agricultural club back in 1902.  A.B. Graham started a youth program and the first clubs were known as “The Tomato Club” or the “Corn Growing Club”.  T. A. Erickson of Minnesota started a local agricultural after school club and county fair that same year.   In 1910, Jessie Field Shambaugh developed the clover pin with an H on each leaf and in 1912; those clubs were then called 4-H clubs.

4-H began as a way to connect to the farming communities; however, 4-H has changed a lot over the years.  Focusing on life skills and preparing youth to become active leaders in their community, 4-H provides opportunities in STEM and a variety of other topics, preparing the nations’ youth to lead challenges in the 21st century. 

I was in 4-H in Stutsman County, North Dakota.  A member of the High Spirits 4-H Club under the leadership of Ed Schlosser.  I will never forget my first meeting or the many meetings and years of 4-H activities after that. We hosted meetings in our homes back then and we were responsible for a demonstration at the end of the meeting.  While nervous to get up in front of my peers, I gained confidence in myself through those opportunities.  We had garden tours and hay rides every fall.  Good times, I will remember for the rest of my life.   I was fortunate to make many new friends through 4-H, not only in my county, but also throughout the state. 

While many things have changed in 4-H, one thing remains consistent, it is not always about winning, it is about the opportunities you had to get there.  I remember staying up late and getting up early to finish projects before our 4-H Achievement Days.  Standing in line waiting for the judge to take a taste of my Grand Champion Sponge Cake.  Most importantly, I remember learning from my parents and 4-H leaders the process of how to make that cake or build that picnic table.  I remember the pride I felt when I received my first Grand Champion ribbon and reflected back on why my sewing project earned a red.  What could I have done better?  What did I learn from the project?  Who helped you along the way?  Those questions are the most important.  So the ribbons will fade and the trophies collect dust through the years, I encourage you to reflect back on the lessons learned, the opportunities you had to meet and work with other youth and the self-esteem you gained through a program called 4-H.



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