For the 75th consecutive year, millions of youth, parents, volunteers and alumni across the country will be celebrating National 4-H Week during the first full week of October.

Our staff got an early start in celebrating the great experiences 4-H can provide to youth by hosting two 4-H school enrichment special events last week. Animals Inside and Out was held Sept. 26 at Ag Park. The program allowed over 400 fourth-graders the opportunity to learn about the systems that make animals work (muscular, skeletal, digestive, reproductive, circulatory), how to care for them and their byproducts. Leadership: Skills You Never Outgrow was held Sept. 28 at Columbus Middle School. Over 450 fifth-graders learned about their own ability to be a leader, what makes teams successful and the importance of communication.

We kicked off the official National 4-H Week with our local 4-H Clover Kid Club holding its monthly meeting by visiting the Columbus fire station to learn about fire prevention. The staff did an excellent job of explaining their job and how to be safe during fires. Youth were able to connect what they learned to 4-H projects they can do in the future.

4-H members are invited to wear their 4-H shirt to school today. Members are asked to share photos of themselves wearing a 4-H shirt on social media to be entered into a drawing. Wearing a 4-H shirt to school helps share the positive experiences youth gain through the 4-H program. 4-H members themselves are the best advocates for the program.

Finally, 4-H members will be at Tractor Supply Company on Oct. 15 to sell Paper Clovers. This opportunity supports the 4-H program in Platte County and is a mainstay of Tractor Supply Company’s support of the 4-H program nationwide in October and May each year.

4-H alumni around the country are always the first to acknowledge the significant positive impact 4-H had on them as young people; the opportunities and experiences that 4-H provides youth empowers them to become true leaders. In fact, research has shown that young people in 4-H are almost four times as likely to contribute to their communities, and are twice as likely to engage in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs in their free time. In Platte County, more than 440 4-H youth and 100 volunteers from the community are involved in 4-H.

To learn more about the 4-H program in Platte County, please contact Jill A. Goedeken at jgoedeken2@unl.edu or 402-563-4901.

Jill A. Goedeken is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator, 4-H and youth development. She can be reached by phone at 402-563-4901, by email at jgoedeken2@unl.edu or on Twitter @JillGoedeken. To learn more about 4-H at 4h.unl.edu, follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Nebraska4H/ or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nebraska4h.

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