Gov. Mike Parson proclaimed Oct. 4-10 National 4-H Week in Missouri.

With a goal of serving 10% of Missouri youths by 2025, Missouri 4-H joins millions of youths, parents, volunteers and alumni across the nation in celebrating the many positive youth development opportunities 4-H offers.

This year’s “Opportunity4All” campaigns seek to rally support for 4-H and find solutions to the opportunity gap that affects 55 million kids across America, said Jennifer Sirangelo, National 4-H Council president and CEO.

With so many children struggling to reach their full potential, 4-H believes that young people, in partnership with adults, play a key role in creating a more promising and equitable future for youths, families and communities across the country, Sirangelo said. 4-H believes every child should have an equal opportunity to succeed and gain the skills they need to make a difference in the world, she said.

“Our Missouri 4-H members are an example of leadership, professionalism and civic engagement,” said Lupita Fabregas, director of University of Missouri Extension’s 4-H Center for Youth Development. “I am proud of everyone who helps us offer all the youth in our state the opportunity to join the largest youth organization in the United States. This will help us meet the National 4-H goal of serving 10% of our state’s youth by 2025.”

Fabregas challenges every 4-H youth and volunteer to “show their 4-H spirit during National 4-H Week and recruit at least one more member for your 4-H club. We have more than 100 project topics, so there is opportunity for all in Missouri 4-H.”

Throughout the week, Missouri 4-H will highlight some inspirational 4-H’ers in the Show-Me State who support each other, see what is needed in their communities and step in to help. They have sewn masks to donate to hospitals, created videos to encourage healthy eating and physical activity, led donation drives to help local food banks and written notes of encouragement and thanks to nursing home residents and front-line workers.

“We believe youth perspectives are so important and a solution to eliminating the opportunity gap, because young people come with new ideas and new ways of seeing the world,” Sirangelo said. By encouraging diverse voices and innovative actions, 4-H believes that solutions can be found to address the educational, economic and health issues that have created the opportunity gap, she said.

While each community will celebrate National 4-H Week in its own way, there are several ways that all Missouri 4-H’ers can join the fun: Print one of the flyers that proclaims “A Proud 4-H’er Lives Here” and tape it to your window; download a 4-H Zoom background for online school or work; use the 4-H frame on Facebook; and participate in 4-H Spirit Day on Wednesday, Oct. 7, by wearing your 4-H Clover to work or school. Missouri 4-H branding resources are available at extension2.missouri.edu/programs/missouri-4-h/4-h-resources/4-h-branding. Contact your county MU Extension center to participate in local celebrations.

In Missouri, more than 57,000 youths and 9,000 volunteers are involved in 4-H. Besides the more traditional community clubs, youths can participate in after-school or in-school clubs, in SPIN (Special INterest) clubs, or in 4-H programming such as Soccer for Success, Youth Futures and Juntos. New this year: 4-H on YouTube and in the Canvas online learning system, with videos, lesson plans and discussion boards to extend project learning beyond face-to-face meetings. This format can supplement local meetings, open new clubs with new delivery modes, fill in when leaders and other volunteers are not available and allow meetings to continue even when in-person gatherings are not possible.

For information on these programs, visit 4h.missouri.edu or contact your county MU Extension center to speak to a 4-H specialist and find out what is happening in your area.

One of the most anticipated events of National 4-H Week every year is the 4-H STEM Challenge, formerly known as National Youth Science Day. This year’s event, in which hundreds of thousands of youths across the nation are expected to take part throughout October, is Mars Base Camp. Developed by Google and Virginia Cooperative Extension, Mars Base Camp teaches kids ages 8-14 STEM skills in fields such as mechanical engineering, physics, computer science and agriculture.

About 4-H

The nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, 4-H cultivates confident kids who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities right now. In the United States, 4-H programs empower 6 million young people through the 110 land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System in more than 3,000 extension offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the U.S., independent, country-led 4-H organizations empower 1 million young people in more than 50 countries. The National 4-H Council is the private sector, nonprofit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters at the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.org, on Facebook at facebook.com/4-H and on Twitter at twitter.com/4H.

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