Today’s youth are full of curiosity, but that can also be overwhelming. Luckily, the U.S. is home to the largest organization that helps students explore the world around them. Through 4-H, students can learn new skills and discover new things.
The 4-H community is open to those ages 5 to 19 who are interested in learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. The South Carolina 4-H Youth Development Program takes a learn-by-doing approach, taking advantage of the knowledge and resources provided by Clemson University and the Land Grant University System.
Community clubs are the foundation of the 4-H program and are a great way to get involved. Beaufort County has a brand-new general 4-H club that covers all project areas. Club members meet once a month for hands-on activities.
There also is a 4-H club for home-schoolers, as well as a Homesteaders Club and an Agriculture & Animals Club that will launch this year. We are always looking to grow community clubs; all you need to start one is an adult volunteer and small group of kids. The Clemson Extension Cooperative staff will take care of the rest.
Originally, 4-H was meant to highlight agriculture, but today it goes above and beyond to other project areas. South Carolina 4-H currently has clubs focused on agriculture and animals, healthy lifestyles, leadership and citizenship, personal development, natural resources, and STEAM. Each club’s members complete a project book, teaching them budgeting, time management, and self-discipline. They also can enter to win a variety of regional and state awards.
The organization’s motto is “To make the best better,” striving to empower students so they can improve their communities. The life skills that 4-H teaches help students excel in multiple areas, and many political leaders, scholars, athletes and musicians have participated in the program.
Joining a 4-H helps students explore their curiosity and broaden their horizons. To get started as a member or a volunteer, contact the Beaufort County Clemson Extension Cooperative Office at 843-473-6021.
Meghan Barkley is a Lowcountry transplant who aims to empower youth and help them understand their value.