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Crow Wing County youth celebrate 4-H week

The Black Bear 4-H Club includes Amber Hidde (back row from left), Tyler Hidde, Bennet Capelle and Braden Capelle; Dana Hammer (front row from left), Ava Capelle and Tori Dullum. Submitted Photo 1 / 2
The Pequot Lakes Eagles 4-H Club includes seniors Taylor Krassas (front row from left) and Rylie Young; Maren Kimbler (second row), Arenda Fuller, Les McCoy, Hannah Pederson, Eli Fuller and Lucas Taylor; Dane Mudgett (third row), Shane Crowley, Thomas Taylor, Julianna Haman, Elena Haman, Jack Kimbler, Payton Mudgett, River Curtis and Noah Crowley. Submitted Photo 2 / 2

The week of Oct. 7-13 is National 4-H Week, and Crow Wing County is celebrating the 4-H youth who have made an impact on the community and are stepping up to the challenges of a complex and changing world.

The 4-H youth development program provides "learn by doing" experiences to encourage youth to experiment, innovate and think independently. 4-H programs are offered through school-based, after-school and camp settings and within community clubs, where groups meet regularly to work on projects, perform community service and develop leadership skills. Through this unique process, youth obtain essential life skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, coping and communicating.

"4-H provides positive non-school learning opportunities that are critical for the development of young people," said Dorothy McCargo Freeman, state 4-H youth development program leader. "As a result, 4-H youth are able to contribute and make a difference in positive ways in their homes, schools and communities throughout Minnesota."

Today's 4-H projects include the traditional and still popular agriculture and animal science projects. But 4-H youth also work on cutting-edge technology projects, such as aquatic robotics, digital photography, community service and environmental projects, such as maintaining local hiking trails and testing water in area streams for contaminants.

"We are a huge part of our community and receive many requests for volunteer help. The youth know if they don't help with these events they might not happen. They truly feel important and love doing service projects. They are, and will be in the future, important members of their community and they learned this through 4-H," said Crow Wing County 4-H volunteer Cindy Terwilliger, of Lake Shore.

Recent findings from Tufts University's 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicate that young people in 4-H are three times more likely to contribute to their communities than youth not participating in 4-H. Notably, the Tufts research discovered that the structured learning, encouragement and adult mentoring that 4-Hers receive play a vital role in helping them actively contribute to their communities. In Crow Wing County, more than 250 4-H members and 85 volunteers are involved in 4-H.

Learn more about 4-H in Minnesota and how to get involved at www.4-H.umn.edu or contact Sarah Ukkelberg, Crow Wing County 4-H program coordinator, at 218-824-1069 or sarahu@umn.edu.