Have you heard of 4-H? With a history going back to the late 1800s, 4-H teaches the future leaders of America skills that will improve not just their formative years, but their entire lives.
Youth between ages 5 (and in kindergarten) to 19 can participate in 4-H to learn skills in leadership, responsibility, communication, and collaboration while gaining an education on science, technology, agriculture, and a wide variety of other topics.
The name 4-H is in reference to the 4 H’s, standing for head, heart, hands, and health!
A Brief History Of 4-H
In the late 1800s, public universities saw a disconnect between those in farming communities not readily accepting new agriculture advancements, such as milk sanitation.
Despite this disconnect, young adults showed interest in these new ideas. They were open to experimenting and sharing the knowledge with their parents and community elders — leading to youth programs that connected public school education to rural farming areas.
In 1902, A.B. Graham, a county schoolmaster and Federal Extension Director of the United States Department of Agriculture, started an agriculture club in our very own Clark County, Ohio. This is now considered one of the births of 4-H in the United States!
With small roots, 4-H has grown worldwide and has organizations in more than 50 countries. In 2016, the organization reported 6 million active participants, more than 25 million alumni, 600,000 volunteers, 110 universities and cooperative extension system, and 900 clubs on military bases.
As the organization has grown, so have its abilities. Modern 4-H tackles issues ranging from sustainable energy to global food security to climate change. Participants also have an opportunity to gain experience in technology, rocketry, robotics, and computer science, opening more doors for scholarships, well-renowned universities, and careers down the road.
Notable 4-H Alumni
Many famous politicians and entertainers spent time in 4-H, developing life-long skills and building community. Some notable 4-H alumni include:
- Jim Davis, creator of the comic strip Garfield
- Julia Roberts, actress in movies such as Pretty Woman
- David Letterman, former host of The Late Show
- Former U.S President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter
- Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
- John Updike, Pulitzer Prize winner
Ohio’s 4-H alone sees more than 240,000 youth each year. Ohio residents can find their local 4-H by visiting this website to get their children active in their county’s programs.
SFM Insurance is proud to support the young men and women active in or volunteering for Ohio 4-H, working to better our community and themselves locally and in the state!. Since our start in 1877, we’ve worked hard to support our community by participating in local festivals and events. Many of our team members are involved in organizations that help grow and develop our communities — from our youth to our seniors.