West Otter Tail County Youth Celebrate 4-H Week Oct. 4-10

Fergus Falls, Minn. (9/23/2015)— October 4-10 is National 4-H Week, and West Otter Tail 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.

In West Otter Tail, look for State Fair results in your local newspapers. Local radio stations will be airing interviews with 4-H’ers. Wells Fargo bank in Fergus Falls will have many 4-H’ers State Fair projects on display. And on Tuesday, October 6, 4-H’ers who wear their 4-H shirt to school may be recognized with small prizes.

The 4-H youth development program provides “learn by doing” experiences to encourage youth to experiment, innovate and think independently. 4-H programs are offered through school-based, after-school and camp settings and 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 Dorothy McCargo Freeman, State 4-H Youth Development Program Leader. “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 4-H youth also work on cutting-edge technology projects, such as aquatic robotics, digital photography, community service and environmental projects, such as 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-H’ers receive play a vital role in helping them actively contribute to their communities. In West Otter Tail County, more than 450 4-H members and 59 volunteers are involved in 4‑H.

Also during National 4-H Week, hundreds of thousands of youth from all around the nation will complete a single, innovative experiment on 4-H National Youth Science Day, which will be held on Wednesday, October 7, 2015. The 2015 National Science Experiment, Motion Commotion, helps 4-H’ers learn about physics, speed and safety!

Learn more about 4-H in Minnesota and how you can get involved at www.4-H.umn.edu or contact Tammy Nordick, West Otter Tail County 4-H program coordinator, at 218-998-8760 or nordi012@umn.edu.

About Extension 4-H: Minnesota 4-H is a youth development program available throughout Minnesota for youth grades k-1 year after high school. 4-H’s learn-by-doing model guides youth in designing and participating in their own programs and activities, which results in hands-on learning. Through this unique process, youth obtain essential life skills such as problem solving, decision making, coping and communicating that prepare them to succeed in their school, college, community and careers. Research shows that youth who participate in 4-H have better grades and are more emotionally engaged with school, are more than twice as likely to be civically active and contribute to their communities, and are 47% less likely to have risky or problem behaviors.

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