National 4-H Week is a good time to celebrate the enormous contributions 4-H makes to our community and nation.
It's hard to imagine anyone in Iowa who doesn't know a bit about 4-H, but this week is an appropriate occasion to reflect on the important contribution this organization makes by helping young people develop skills and values that will serve them well for a lifetime.
It has been more than a century since 4-H got its start in Iowa in 1901. Today it is the largest youth-development program in the Hawkeye State. About one-quarter of the state's young folks are involved in 4-H. Those 125,000 youthful participants from all 99 of the state's counties are supported in their activities by more than 11,000 adult volunteers.
The member projects that are a key component of the 4-H program help young people develop important life skills that center on positive self-esteem, communications and decision making. Those who partake of the 4-H experience learn how to conceptualize a task and carry it through to successful conclusion. Many of the most successful members of our communities first began to hone their organizational and communications skills in 4-H.
The underlying theme of 4-H is captured succinctly in the organization's motto: "Make the best better." Growth through learning, teamwork and communication is at the very core of 21st-century 4-H.
The Messenger salutes the many 4-H members, volunteers and others who participate in or help support the myriad 4-H programs. Their investment of time and energy in 4-H today will pay dividends far into the future both for them and the communities they call home.