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'Growing' cycle begins again for 4-H

1:54 PM, Sep. 16, 2013  |  Comments
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School is back in session and so is 4-H.

The 4-H season finished out strong with a successful Wisconsin Valley Fair, where more than 800 4-H members displayed their projects, and showcased their animals, talents and special skills. Congratulations to all those who participated and received awards during the 2013 Wisconsin Valley Fair!

However, just like summer transitions into fall, 4-H is also starting out fresh with a whole new season. This is a great time for local youths who aren't currently in a 4-H club to get in on the action and join a local club.

If you are not familiar with 4-H, here is a little background. It is an education-based program that works toward youth development and teaches life skills through projects and learning-based activities. Project areas include arts, communications, mechanical, technical, natural resources and forestry, vegetable gardens, and home and family. There are also animal project areas such as cattle, sheep, horses, rabbits and swine.

Marathon County has about 35 clubs to choose from, each one having its own unique characteristics. Geographically, the 4-H clubs in this county are divided into four districts: North, South, East and West. Although proximity is one consideration, there are many other things to consider when choosing a 4-H club to join. Just like a pair of new shoes for the back-to-school season, it is important to find the right fit. It may be necessary to try on a few before you make a decision, because youths should be in a club that reflects their unique personalities, one where they can pursue their own interests and one that will help them learn, grow and succeed to their fullest potential.

Other factors to consider when evaluating whether a 4-H club is a good fit include specific interests or strengths that the club may have; for instance, some clubs' strengths lie in the arts and others lie in agriculture, different activities that the club participates in throughout the year, and similarities that may be shared with the members such as ages and backgrounds.

A typical 4-H club meets once a month for about one to two hours. Monthly club meetings are where the 4-H magic happens. Members have the chance to make new friends, complete community service projects, do project-specific activities, demonstrate leadership, teamwork and decision making skills and learn more about their project areas. 4-H is a way to for youths to get involved in their community and to discover and cultivate their unique abilities. But most important of all, 4-H is fun!

To learn more about the 4-H Program in Marathon County and how to join go to marathon.uwex.edu or call the UW-Extension office at 715-261-1230.

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