People often ask- “what do the “H’s” in 4-H mean? A great way to answer this question is with the 4-H Pledge. Our pledge describes what each “H” means. The first line of the pledge is “I pledge my head to clearer thinking.” It is a simple yet profound statement. How much better would the world be if we all thought clearly, more often? 4-H programs intentionally provide opportunities for youth to learn how to make decisions and solve problems. We do this through the “learning by doing” technique. Youth learn by doing- not just listening or watching. During a typical club meeting, workshop or camp, youth will be getting their hands dirty learning about building robots, food safety or how to care for an animal. Participation in contests and judging teams also help youth think on their feet with a clear head. Another way 4-Hers learn to problem solve is through service to their community. 4-Hers are asked each year to identify a problem in their community and develop a plan to solve that problem in the form of a service learning project. As 4-Hers learn new knowledge and skills, they are given challenges to solve, which means that they not only have to have a clear head, they have to work as a team.
Our 4-H volunteers are essential to helping youth develop the first “H.” Our volunteers use 4-H curriculum and learn-by-doing teaching techniques to help youth learn cooperation and problem solving skills. If you are interested in inspiring the next generation of youth people, consider becoming a 4-H volunteer. Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office to find out about opportunities to share your knowledge, skills and passion to develop future leaders, scientists and citizens to think with a clear head!