4H – 1 of 100 things I like about Springfield, Ohio

How the 100 Things I Like About Springfield posts got started…

I’ve been wanting to do a post like this for a few days, and I finally came up with the way I wanted to do it.  I first wanted to do 100 things to do in Springfield (Clark County), and I came up with the list, but many of the things I haven’t experienced yet.  Then, I was going to do a Springfield A-Z type post, but that will take some more work.  Finally, here we go…a post with 100 of the reasons I (David Zak) like living in Springfield.  That gives me more leeway and latitude and is a good starting point.  These are in alphabetical order (to protect the innocent).

Thing I like about Springfield #1 – 4H

My daughter Grace enjoying a rabbit 4H project at 2008 Clark County Fair

My daughter Grace enjoying a rabbit 4H project at 2008 Clark County Fair

The largest youth development program in the country

4H is a monster youth education program that was birthed in Clark County Ohio in 1902 by A.B. Graham.  Its scope is impressive – 6 million young people are currently participating, 60 million alumni, over 500,000 volunteers, 3500 staff, and in every state, DC, Puerto Rico, and 80 countries around the world.  As such, it appears to be the largest youth program in the country, followed by Boys and Girls Clubs with 4.8 million participants and the Boy & Girl Scouts with 5.2 million combined. 

Why it was created

The reason for creating the program is also interesting.  As 4H tells it on their website, at the turn of the century researchers at land-grant colleges as well as the USDA saw that adult farmers weren’t open to new technology, but they found they could reach them by having their kids “experiment” with the new ideas and share those ideas and successes with the adults.  

My experience with 4H

My personal experience with the program is twofold – at the Clark County Fair (and other county fairs), I enjoy seeing the large number of sheep, goat, cow, rabbit, chicken “projects” that are done by youth with the family and appreciate how that makes the family grow stronger.  One of my boss’s daughters did rabbits this year, and it was a really positive experience.  Secondly, when testimony in favor of renewing the temporary sales tax happened this year, 4H was the strongest voice in favor, with story after heartrending story of how this program has changed and impacted the lives of young people – from inner city youth to young adult leaders.  Makes me proud to live here.  Our community has left a legacy.

>> 4H Website – http://4-h.org

>> Ohio 4H Program – www.ohio4h.org

>> Wikipedia entry – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4-H

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