New Castle News

October 24, 2012

Our Opinion: 4-H has long history of helping to guide young people

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — When you look at America of 100 years ago, you can see the beginnings of the modern world.

Industrialization was in full force, and urbanization was in progress. Plus, the First World War was just around the corner, a conflagration that would reshape the map and this nation’s place in it.

Still, much of the United States at that time was rural, as it still is today. It was into this society, straddling the modern and traditional, that 4-H arrived in Lawrence County.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the local organization devoted to helping young people learn assorted skills. In this regard, 4-H is not unique, but it plays a major role in communities such as Lawrence County, where much of the population is rural.

While 4-H traditionally has focused on agricultural matters, the organization has evolved with the times. It still provides educational and social opportunities devoted to raising livestock and other aspects of agriculture. But it’s also involved in other activities that have little or nothing to do with the farm.

In Lawrence County, for instance, there are 30 different 4-H clubs. And while some create entertaining educational formats for youngsters who want to learn agricultural skills, others focus on activities as diverse as bowling and rocketry. The sky’s the limit when it comes to 4-H, so to speak.

Perhaps the high point of the year for many local 4-H participants is the annual Lawrence County Fair. It’s not only an opportunity to socialize, it’s also a chance for club members to show off their skills and accomplishments. The achievements of 4-H members are always a central focus of the fair, helping to promote its emphasis on the community’s youth.

Last week, local 4-H clubs gathered to mark the 100th birthday of 4-H in Lawrence County. There were, of course, the obligatory servings of cake and ice cream, but also honors were presented to both the adults who guide and support various program and the young people who take the skills they learn and record achievements.

As with any such organization, it’s the volunteers who donated their time and resources that makes 4-H the success it is. Educational opportunities aimed at encouraging young people to develop their skills depend on the efforts of adults who are willing an able to share. They deserve recognition for tasks that don’t always make headlines, but do make a difference.

So we salute our local 4-H organizations and all they do for the community. And we look forward to another 100 years of accomplishments.