“In America we have only one title to nobility and that is achievement.”
The county fairs held throughout America each summer is always a reminder for me of the 4-H Club. Perhaps because it is the week of the Ohio Fair here in Columbus and that 4-H had its beginnings in Clark County, Ohio in 1902, but I’ll use it as an example of the great organizations that we need to be reminded to invest in if we want to build great communities. (There are so many great organizations that help young people learn values, serve others and build self-esteem including Junior Achievement, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy and Girl Scouts and dozens of others).
A 10-year study by Tufts University found that 4-H youth are four times more likely to give back to their communities, two times more likely to make healthier choices, two times more likely to participate in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – activities and two times more likely to be civically active. I am sure that many civic organizations have studies that prove similar things, which is my larger point here.
What is most important is that we don’t forget that being part of something remains important for both children and adults. In today’s world, it is more important than ever to belong to something, in particular those things that build people up in service to the community as a whole.
Kudos to 4-H and other groups that not only have a great history of service, but continue to evolve their programs to be as relevant as possible to today. As we go into this week, and hopefully plan to visit the fairgrounds in each of our communities, let’s take to heart the 4-H pledge. And let’s take to heart and be inspired in our own organizations by groups like 4-H.
I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
my heart to greater loyalty,
my hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.