October 7-13 is National 4-H Week, and Cherokee 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.

Today’s youth and their families face many hardships. Youth are faced with obesity, teen pregnancy, drugs and alcohol. Parents and youth are both affected by the hard economic times that our country is facing. Parents are struggling to find inexpensive ways for their youth to develop into young healthy, independent, caring and dependable young adults. 4-H is the answer!

4-H is a youth development program for youth between the ages of 7- 18. 4-H is free! It doesn’t cost to join. 4-H is a great way to get youth involved with other youth and adults. The 4-H program was designed to help youth develop a positive self-concept, sound decision-making skills, along with the ability to apply those decisions, an inquiring mind, healthy interpersonal relationships, and concern for the community. Tufts University did a recent study on youth who participate in out of school activities. The study found that compared to other out of school activities 4-H was more likely to have higher positive youth development. The study also found that youth in 4-H are less likely to engage in negative behaviors such as drinking and smoking. The study found that 4-H youth are more likely to have higher self esteem, higher grades, more physically active, have compassion, good character, and be more involved with their community than other out of school programs.

The 4-H’ers here in Cherokee County are active in 4-H as well as their community. Last year the 4-H’ers made bears to give to all the residents of the nursing homes in Cherokee County. Every year 4-H Council makes a donation to Relay for Life. This year 4-H is having a Trick or Treat for canned goods. On Halloween the 4-H’ers are going to go door to door and instead of asking for candy they are going to ask for canned goods to give to the food pantries in Cherokee County. 4-H’ers in Cherokee County are more aware of their community and the people in it, they are more confident and out going, and are happy and healthy.

4-H youth are a living, breathing, culture-changing revolution for doing the right thing, breaking through obstacles and pushing our country forward by making a measurable difference right where they live. Learn how you can Join the Revolution of Responsibility at 4- H.org/revolution or contact Meghan Loverude, Extension Agent 4-H Youth Development, at K-Sate Research and Extension, Cherokee County at 620-429-3849 or mdavidso@ksu.edu