One of the many great things about the 4-H Youth Development program is the family time that often occurs. Whether it is working on a project, attending club meetings together, working at 4-H events or learning more about their projects, the opportunity for family involvement is huge! As a youth myself, I remember countless hours of my Dad helping me with my 4-H calves and lots of hours of time spent on sewing, gardening and craft projects with my mom. My grandma taught me so much about baking and that is where I developed my love of making yeast breads and rolls. At the time, I thought I was just learning about projects to take to the fair, but I was actually learning life skills that have benefitted me even now. My colleague, Eric Stehlik from Saline County shared with me information on more benefits youth obtain from family involvement with their activities.
Becoming involved in children’s 4-H activities is a great way for families to grow and develop. Whether parents are attending club meetings or teaching their children about animal care, rocketry or entrepreneurship, they are helping to build stronger relationships and families.
Research shows that young people need caring relationships with adults to help them grow and develop positively. Parents can build these relationships by becoming involved in their children’s activities. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other extended family members should become involved too because they also play important roles in the lives of children.
4-H’ers participate in a variety of individual and group projects, and family members can be a part of these learning experiences. If a participant is enrolled in foods and nutrition, a family member can teach them proper food safety. This can then easily become a part of daily life. Just interacting and communicating can help family members learn more about each other and grow closer.
Families can also benefit from participating in 4-H community service projects. They can help with a food drive by donating supplies from their own cupboards, asking neighbors for a donation or making a cash donation to the local food pantry. What matters is that families do these activities together. Not only will family members have fun, but also they will help their community and grow closer together, all at little or no cost!