Summer Fun Day participants discover that an apple can be used as a battery!
Nowadays, getting involved with 4-H doesn’t just mean raising a cow to show at a farm fair! With its updated Science, Healthy Living, and Citizenship mandates, the organization is involving young people in handson educational programs that help them become more informed and engaged citizens.
Hawai‘i 4-H fosters the next generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, and problem-solvers through real-world science experiences. The Spring and Summer Fun Days in Kona included projects such as dissecting fish and experimenting with solar energy, light sticks, and water density. The 4-H Junior Master Gardener programs in Kainaliu and Hilo bring together science, environmental awareness, and life skills as students and their families plant, care for, harvest, cook, and eat a wide variety of produce.
4-H Junior Master Gardeners get their hands in the dirt.
Of the four H’s on the iconic cloverleaf, Health is getting lots of attention in local programs. At this past summer’s 2013 Ahaolelo teen conference, 4-H delegates participated in the “Amazing Race to Health” by learning about healthy and unhealthy food choices. With the help of the Camp Erdman YMCA staff, 4-H program Operation: Military Kids offered the “Up For the Challenge” day camp to school-age military children, including learning sessions on healthy living topics, physical activities such as stand-up paddling and ropes courses, and spirit-renewing exercises in mindfulness.
In the spirit of good citizenship, O‘ahu 4-H Council members not only prepared food and served it to the residents at the Next Step homeless shelter; they also raised public awareness about homelessness. To help military families with members returning from deployment, 4-H’ers from Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i, and Maui helped create “FIT” kits: comprised of a cookbook, family activity guides, flower and vegetable seeds, an empty scrapbook, and an interactive game, these Family Interaction Tools foster family togetherness.
Of course, the agricultural side of 4-H is still going strong, as well—the last livestock auction brought record prices for the participants’ steers, goats, chickens, sheep, and rabbits. With a little something for everyone, today’s 4-H is an invigorating mix of traditional values—updated for the present day.