October 2-8, 2022 is National 4-H Week, and Pope County is celebrating the 4-H youth who have made an impact on the community and are stepping up to the challenges of a complex and changing world.

Pope County 4-H has 8 4-H Clubs: Ben Wade Blazers (Farwell), Busy Beavers (Brooten), Lakers Area Leaders (varies), Lowry Legends (Lowry), New Prairie Pioneers (White Bear Township), Trails & Tails (Glenwood), Villard Livewires (Villard), and Wayside (Starbuck) which include more than 265 4-H club members and 76 volunteers.  In addition to Clubs, youth can also take part in other 4-H events locally, regionally, statewide or nationally.

The 4-H youth development program provides experiences where youth can “learn by doing,” which encourages youth to experiment, innovate and think independently. 4-H programs are offered through school-based, after-school and camp settings, as well as within community clubs, where groups meet regularly to work on projects, perform community service and develop leadership skills. Through this unique process, youth obtain essential life skills such as problem-solving, decision making, coping and communicating. 

“4-H provides positive non-school learning opportunities that are critical for the development of young people,” said Jennifer Skuza, associate dean for the Center for Youth Development and Minnesota 4-H state director. “As a result, 4-H youth are able to contribute and make a difference in positive ways in their homes, schools and communities throughout Minnesota.”

Today’s 4-H projects include the traditional and still popular agriculture and animal science projects, but youth also work on cutting-edge technology projects, such as aquatic robotics, digital photography, community service and environmental projects– like maintaining local hiking trails and testing water in area streams for contaminants.

Recent findings from Tufts University’s 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicate that young people in 4-H are three times more likely to contribute to their communities than youth not participating in 4-H. Notably, the Tufts research discovered that the structured learning, encouragement and adult mentoring that 4-Hers receive play a vital role in helping them actively contribute to their communities. 

Learn more about 4-H in Minnesota and how you can get involved at www.4-H.umn.edu or contact Pope County 4-H at 320-634-7734 or mnext-pope@umn.edu.