Learn how 4-H is so much more than what meets the eye, and how you or your kids can get involved!
For 120 years, 4-H clubs have brought about non-formal, handson learning opportunities to community youth all over the U.S. they currently serve as the nation’s largest youth development organization. They may have begun as educational clubs for agriculture, but in time, they have broadened their reach to different demographics and included much more.
“4-H today focuses on citizenship, healthy living science, engineering and technology programs.”-April Berntson, Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
“That quote itself tells you how diverse the whole 4-H program is, because it really does everything. From the typical things you’d think of 4-H and how it was 40 years ago with sewing, animals, livestock and so on, but a big focus of 4-H now is STEM projects for boys and girls,” April Berntson, Extension Agent of 4-H Youth Development said.
The idea behind 4-H youth clubs is to give kids skillsets that will help them thrive in their communities and that prepare them for their futures.
Due to the program’s roots in farming and agriculture, people often still associate those as the lone activities that their kids can participate in; but that’s not the case. Within the last 20 years, there has been a shift in the programming, from who could be in what club and what they offered. Today, regardless of age, gender or interests, any child who wants to participate in a club can.
“It’s evolved into so much more as we have been able to learn more about ourselves, we know that kids need a lot more and we’re trying to be more diverse,” April said.
In Cass County, NDSU Extension conducts 4-H and is able to offer its programming in every county in North Dakota!
But How Does It Work?
The club can be independent or it can be set up as an afterschool program and in rural counties. 4-H representatives might come into schools to provide exposure of the program to those kids. 4-H is run through 4-H volunteers and 4-H professional and university programming, in virtual, in-person and even at home formats.
Their programming areas include STEM and Agriculture, Healthy Living and Civic Engagement and serve children their entire childhood and teen years, from 5 to 19-years-old.
“If you have any kind of interest in learning new things or taking on new projects, it’s great for you. And even if you’re not interested, for example, if you’re scared of public speaking, it’s a great, low-stress, low-risk environment to try new things,” April said. ”You’re going to go to meetings, and people who know what they’re doing will run a meeting while you sit in there and watch. Over time, you’re going to learn how a meeting runs. They’ll encourage you to give a short presentation if you’re comfortable with it. If you’re not, you don’t have to.”
4-H works to keep costs low for families. Annual membership dues are $5 per enrolled child. Cass County 4-H Clubs may elect to collect club dues, typically $5-15 per youth. Club and membership dues help to cover costs of hosting activities and events throughout the year.
Another added benefit is the community that kids create within their clubs. Whether it’s learning a new skill or meeting a goal together, the participants bond. The kids have an opportunity to meet new friends, whether they’ve lived in town their whole life or they’re new.
“It’s just about giving kids life skills, communication skills, and the ability to work with each other, work with themselves, and be ready for anything that could come in their future,” April said.
Learn more at ndsu.
Cass County 4-H has tons to offer but is always looking for more involvement. Check out the current local and regional clubs!
Cass County Crusaders | 3rd Friday of the month at 10:00 A.M., Social Hall, St. Mary’s Cathedral (BSMT), Fargo ND
Clover Friends (CURRENTLY NOT ACCEPTING NEW MEMBER) | 3rd Tuesday of the month at 6:30 P.M., Butler Arena, Red River Valley Fairgrounds, West Fargo
Dragonflies | 2nd Monday of the month at 6:30 P.M., Charism Youth Center, Fargo
Golden Kids | 2nd Sunday of the month at 5:00 P.M., Faith United Methodist Church, Fargo
Lucky Clover Buddies | 2nd ay of the month at 2:45 P.M.. St Joseph School, Moorhead
Rainbow Kids | 1st Sunday of the month at 6:00 P.M., Nativity Church, Fargo
The Uniters (CURRENTLY NOT ACCEPTING NEW MEMBERS) | Time and date TBD monthly, meetings are held at a Member’s Home
Valley Adventures | 2nd Thursday of the month at 6:30 P.M., Butler Building, Red River Valley Fairgrounds, West Fargo
Absaraka Crows | 2nd Sunday of the month at 2:00 P.M., Absaraka Community Center, Absaraka
Golden Clovers | 4th Monday of the month at 6:30 P.M., at 602 Building, Casselton
Greenfields | Friday’s after school at 4:00 P.M., Hunter Memorial Hall, Hunter
Harwood Helpers | 2nd Sunday of the month at 1:30 P.M., Harwood Community Center, Harwood
Horace Stars | Time and location TBD, Horace
Kindred Sandburrs (CURRENTLY NOT ACCEPTING NEW MEMBERS) | 2nd Sunday of the month at 6:30 P.M., Kindred Lutheran Church, Kindred
Wheatland Pioneers | 2nd Sunday of the month at 4:00 P.M., Embden Community Center, Embden
Heartland Equestrian | 2nd Friday of the month at 6:00 PM., 3 Gems Tack & Stables, Moorhead (Horse Club – Encourages members to own their own horse)
Red River Riders | 1st Friday of the month at 7:00 P.M., Country Side Stables, Moorhead (Horse Club – Please note this club does not require that you own a horse)
Rush River Livestock | 3rd Sunday of the month at 4:00 P.M., Arthur Community Center, Arthur (Livestock Project Area Focus with other projects and service activities)
Sportsman’s Adventure | 3rd Thursday of the month at 7:00 P.M., Reed Township Hall, West Fargo (Outdoor Skills Project Area)
Triple “C” | 1st Monday of the month at 7:00 P.M., Butler Building, Red River Valley Fairgrounds, West Fargo or Reed Township hall (Horse Club – Members must own their own horse or be part of a family that owns a horse)