4-H allows youth to explore interests, prepare for the future

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COLLEGE STATION – Enrollment for the 2017-2018 4-H year started Aug. 15 with the official statewide kickoff Sept. 1, said Dr. Toby Lepley, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service statewide program specialist, 4-H Youth Development, College Station.

“4-H allows youth to explore their path for a strong future,” Lepley said. “It doesn’t matter where they live or what they want to be when they grow up, in 4-H young people can make friends, have fun and try new things with the help of caring adults.”

Lepley said youth in 4-H gain lifelong skills in areas such as communication, teamwork, leadership, decision-making and organization. In Texas, youth in kindergarten through second grade can join Clover Kids. Youth in third to 12th grades and those 8 years old before Sept. 1 can join 4-H. More than 550,000 youth in all 254 counties of the state participate in Texas 4-H each year.

“Participants can join 4-H for $25 or less,” he said. “And early enrollment from Aug. 15 on will be available for youth with early September fairs.”

This year, Texas 4-H celebrates a milestone anniversary of 110 years providing positive youth development experiences for the young citizens of the state. In Texas, the youth organization is administered by AgriLife Extension, with offices in 250 counties.

“Whatever a young person’s interests, there is a 4-H experience for them,” Lepley said. “Youth involved in 4-H can get hands-on experience in public speaking, science, robotics and technology, cooking and healthier eating, photography, performing arts, fashion, caring for animals and nature.

He said 4-H places equal importance on character development and community service.

To see what 4-H projects are available, go to https://texas4-h.tamu.edu/projects/.

Lepley said those interested in 4-H can contact their local AgriLife Extension office with questions and to find out where area clubs meet.

Contact information on AgriLife Extension county offices can be found at https://agrilifepeople.tamu.edu/extensionLists/counties. A Texas 4-H contact request form can be found at https://texas4-h.tamu.edu/register/.

“We hope with the start of the new 4-H year, even more youth will enroll in Texas 4-H and take advantage of the many opportunities this wonderful organization has to offer,” Lepley said.

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