Many homeschoolers find 4-H is a remarkable part of their homeschool. So when SCAIHS was approached by Clemson University to run a series of sponsored blog posts about 4-H we jumped at the chance! For more information about our sponsored posts please see our Terms and Conditions Policy.
Heart, head, hands and health. Not only do those four H’s constitute the 4-H name and pledge; the development of those four facets of South Carolina’s young people is the very fabric of its objective.
South Carolina 4-H uses a learn-by-doing approach built on the involvement of caring adults and the knowledge and resources of Clemson University and the land-grant university system to help youth become healthy, productive and contributing members of society.
And that approach is making a difference.
Participants in 4-H are twice as likely to be civically active, live healthier lives and participate in science, engineering and computer technology programs in schools, according to a Tufts University study. But perhaps the most meaningful finding from the study: 4-H members are nearly four times more likely to make contributions to their communities in grades 7-12.
The youth development arm of the Clemson Cooperative Extension Service, South Carolina 4-H sees more than 100,000 young people in K-12 across the state participate in its programs annually. The programs cover animal science, agriculture, science, engineering, natural resources, healthy living, leadership and more.
Clemson Extension has proactively expanded 4-H programming and hired more 4-H agents throughout the state as part of a five-year strategic plan focused on strengthening communities. With the support of nearly 4,000 volunteers across the state, that approach led to participation increasing by 12 percent last year in South Carolina 4-H after seeing growth of nearly 10 percent a year earlier.
As an example of its approach of lending real-world experiences, more than 200 4-H members, volunteers and Clemson Extension agents attended 4-H Legislative Day at the South Carolina Statehouse last year to learn about government and to show legislators the impact 4-H has on the state’s youth.
“We see the difference 4-H makes in children’s lives every day. 4-H teaches leadership, instills confidence and offers hands-on learning opportunities that some children may not receive elsewhere,” said Pamela Ardern, South Carolina 4-H program leader. “We are thankful for investments from the South Carolina General Assembly that have allowed us to hire more 4-H agents and reach more youth throughout the state.”
And 4-H is not simply making an impact on the Palmetto State. Through America’s 110 land-grant universities and its Cooperative Extension System, 4-H reaches every corner of the nation — from urban neighborhoods to suburban schoolyards to rural farming communities. With a network of more than 6 million youth, 600,000 volunteers, 3,500 professionals and 25 million alumni, 4-H helps shape youth to move the country and the world forward in ways that no other youth organization can.
The 4-H pledge states, “I pledge my head to clear thinking, my heart to great loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world.” There is little doubt that sentiment is paying dividends for youth across South Carolina.