shutterstock 113116204Today’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.