4‑H, the largest informal youth development organization, empowers nearly six million young people across the United States, through experiences that develop critical life skills. During the first full week of October (Oct. 1to 7), the 4‑H Youth Development Program will be celebrating National 4‑H Week. 4‑H creates supportive environments for culturally diverse youth to reach their fullest potential and grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for career tomorrow.
The top 10 reasons to JOIN 4‑H are…develop skills to succeed in the workplace; improve goal-setting and decision-making skills; become a community leader; go to 4‑H Citizenship–Washington Focus, National 4‑H Conference or National 4‑H Congress; learn to care for and make decisions about the environment; meet kids from across the country; participate in county-wide events; learn about citizenship and how it works; learn new things and have lots of fun in 4‑H.
All of this and more is possible in 4‑H if you are in grades K through 13 (one year out of high school). Each individual uses his or her talents to create unique experiences through the 4‑H program. Young people participate in 4‑H through clubs, special interest groups, after school programs, camps and in many other ways.
Youth involved with 4‑H have the opportunity to develop and strengthen life skills. This includes workforce, decision-making and leadership skills, which are crucial to succeeding in today’s society. Youth are able to develop these skills through their commitment to community whether through a service project or a committee that tackles critical societal issues. Ultimately, young people gain beneficial lifetime experiences through 4‑H.
The 4‑H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Cooperative Extension. For more information, visit the New Jersey 4‑H website at www.nj4h.rutgers.edu
Hunterdon county has more than two dozen clubs focusing on animals, science, creativity, community service and more.
Here are the reports from the members themselves:
Hunterdon Hoppers is the Hunterdon County 4-H Rabbit club. The most important thing to remember is you do not need to own a rabbit to join the club.
We hold our meetings the second Monday of every month. The meetings start at 7 p.m. and are held at the Extension Center on Rt. 12 in Flemington.
We try to keep the meetings to about an hour and a half in length. The average age of members of our group is 11 to 14 years old.
There are many fun committees to participate in during the year. Some examples of committees are, helping out at a petting zoo or helping design and set up our fair display. We have many activities to choose from so don’t worry you’ll find something that you would definitely want to do. The activities are so much fun because you have a chance to make new friends, experience new things, and learn a lot about rabbits.
Throughout the year members are asked to do a club presentation on a rabbit topic at one of our meetings. New members are only expected to do a 2-5 minute presentation. You can pick your topic from our list and you can even use your own rabbit in your presentation. There is a workshop members can attend to learn how to give a presentation.
An important aspect of raising animals is keeping records. 4-H members are taught how to keep an organized record book detailing their progress throughout the year. Hunterdon Hoppers is a great club that gives you the chance to build lifelong skills such as leadership, responsibility, and public speaking.
Fur n’ Feathers
Fur n’ Feathers is a club for poultry and lots of different small animals, but most of the club members joined because they love their chickens and ducks! The Fur n’ Feathers group loves to show off their animals and attend various community events to educate the public about 4-H and the many opportunities it affords its members. This Fall members will attend the Good News Home for Women Fall Festival, the Readington River Buffalo Farm Hay Day event, and the Clinton Harvest Festival. The club also lends a helping hand at the Antique Show to raise money for Hunterdon County 4-H and brings their animals to Tractor Supply to help raise money for 4-H at a National level. Fur ‘n Feathers is a hard-working group of kids and parents, all learning, teaching, laughing, and pledging their hands to larger service – for their club, their community, their country and their world.
Sew, Bake ‘n’ Bloom
Sew, Bake ‘n’ Bloom (SBB) is a consumer science club and we do what our names says – we sew, bake and garden. The Club meets twice a month with the first Thursday of the month being our business meeting and the third Saturday of the month being our activity meeting.
At our September business meeting, we planned out this year’s meetings, activities and events. With 4-H there’s always a lot to take part in apart from our regular SBB activities. For instance, our Club provides baked goods for the 4-H State Antiques Show in the Spring and the 4-H County Antiques Show in the Fall. We work the Fair, participate in the Scarecrow Contest, Trunk or Treat, the Holiday Bazaar, create displays for the Hunterdon County Library and for the 4-H Office. We also do county wide presentations and the annual Foods Judging Contest. Last March, we competed in a tri-county 4-H Cupcake Wars event and 3 of our members came in second place. We plan to do this again in the Spring.
At our activity meetings, each member is expected to plan and lead an activity meeting and practice presentations throughout the year in preparation for the county wide presentations. We have a holiday party of our own as well as collecting gifts for the holidays to give to families in need. We bake and go caroling at a local senior center. We also host an Annual Father’s Day Brunch for our dads, granddads, uncles, etc. In the summer, we hold our business meetings at a local swim club and discuss SBB, eat dinner and swim. Super fun!
There is never a dull moment and usually not enough moments to do all we plan. But, we try and we have a lot of fun doing it all!
Round Valley Riders and The Pink Ladies
We are the Round Valley Riders 4H Horse Club! Our club has 18 horse crazy members that participate in club, county and state 4-H events. We go on trips to farms, shows and equine hospitals. During the winter months, we work with a equine vet and participate in workshops.
Our club has a riding team named the Pink Ladies that raises money for breast cancer awareness. They practice to ride in synchronized formation to music, and participate in parades, shows and our Hunterdon County 4-H Fair where we spend the whole week having fun with our horses and the other 4-H clubs.
The Round Valley Riders are a very active 4H club that is welcoming new members at this time.
Centaurs 4-H Horse Club
Hunterdon County Centaurs 4-H horse club participated in many fun and educational activities this year.
Members went to various state competitions including Horse Bowl and Hippology which quiz your knowledge on horses. We also participated in an equine arts show displaying our artwork, and a model horse show having our horse collections judged.
Centaurs like to provide community service at horse events as well. Several members went to the Jersey Fresh International Event where we got to see professional riders in cross country. We were crossing guards making sure that people were safe while horses were crossing the course. We also went to Hunterdon Classic Polo Match to set up fake jumps for the children to jump like horses themselves.
Finally, some members of the Centaurs chose to be on Drill Team which is a group of horses and riders that perform synchronized maneuvers on horseback to music. This year we rode in a 4th of July parade and performed at the 4-H Hunterdon County Fair. We love our horses!
Since being established in 2010, the Robostorm Robotics 4-H Club has become firmly established in Hunterdon County providing kids in 4th through 12th grade the opportunity to work on STEM skills through projects of their choice.
Community outreach is also a big focus of the club. Robostorm members participated in a Morales Park cleanup day, the antique fair, holiday workshop, county presentations, Earth Day, Hunterdon County library display and North County Branch Library Makers Day.
The year ended in an amazing 5 day interactive robotics display at the Hunterdon County Fair. During the fair, members displayed their projects including a 3D printed pcb machine, an incarnation of Tetris using Java on a Raspberry Pi with a 3D printed game controller, a Raspberry Pi that plays pong against itself on a LED matrix, an 80’s style arcade machine, a walking robot, an Arduino traffic light controller, a model rocket command center that launches 6 rockets at a time, quadcopters, a 3D printed robotic arm, 3D printed fidget spinners, an Altoids test, an aquaponics system and an underwater robot.
Club members 3D printed name tags for the public at the fair and operated the AquaBot, an original design, remote controlled water dispensing robot with a GPS locator.
New for the 2017-2018 4-H year, Robostorm will be entering a FIRST FTC Robotics Team. It was a busy year for the 4-H Robotics Club and we look forward to an even better 2017-2018 year.
Hunterdon Deadeyes 4-H Club
The Hunterdon Deadeyes 4-H Shooting Sports Club has successfully demonstrated our knowledge of firearms, safety and respect of the 4-H shooting sports program. We have t taught firearm safety at the fair and Earthday to many people who visit our range. Our goal at these events to be sure participants learn firearm safety and respect for firearms as we have. Throughout the course of the year we have participated in fundraising, public speaking events, community service and state competitions.
As we gain members they have the same opportunity we each have. This means they have the opportunity to learn archery and air rifle their first year and move forward to shotgun, muzzleloader, and air pistol. In each discipline they learn safety and respect for the firearm.
An experienced member of the club explains how to shoot the firearm and proper positions, while staying safe on the line. Once they learn the basics they are taught line commands, which are the step-by-step process to ensure the shooter is safe. Hunterdon Deadeyes offers members a chance to learn about public speaking through club presentations and also give members a chance to hold an office within the club.
Through state competitions members have the chance to qualify for National Championships. In order to attend, each participant must help raise their share of $1,100. We accomplish this by hosting a breakfast with the Easter Bunny, making and selling applesauce, hosting a shoot at Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays and a hoagie sale. Many generous organizations and local businesses support our members. Central Jersey Pistol Club donated $5,000 to the team, Phillipsburg Pistol Club donated $200, Torelco donated use of a truck to transport the team and many other businesses purchased t-shirt ads.
As our club grows we gain many new members and our goal is to support club members with equipment so they can join without owning firearms. One of the fundraisers we hold is to set up ranges at Mercer and Hunterdon Fair. The proceeds from the fair help maintain and purchase equipment used by new members.
The National Rifle Association supported the Hunterdon Deadeyes through the Friends of the NRA Grant Program. This past year the Deadeyes received a portable 3 Position range as well as shooting mats and kneeling rolls.
Senior members age 16 and older are given to opportunity to become youth firearm instructors in a discipline of their choice. Five of our senior members are youth and seven of our alumni are now assistant instructors.
We have begun the 2017-18 year with 16 new members and are looking forward to the new 4-H year.