For Immediate ReleaseNovember 15, 2023
Revamped countywide program seeks newcomers and adult volunteers
Novato, CA – It’s widely proven that hands-on learning works. That’s what the Marin County 4-H Club is all about. Right now, the Marin community has a temporary opportunity to take part in America’s largest youth development organization at no cost. Annual enrollment fees, previously $75, are being waived for the first 300 youth members and first 75 adult volunteers thanks to a grant from the nonprofit Miranda Lux Foundation.
Marin 4-H is transitioning from several regional clubs to one countywide club following a one-year pilot, and it is now opening the door to kids from ages 5-18. Projects are offered throughout the school year and enrollment for certain projects are still open for members. There’s a special effort to include kids from neighborhoods that traditionally haven’t been exposed to 4-H, including from Spanish-speaking households.
“We’re letting families know about it because it’s a place where a child can find a spark,” said 4-H Regional Program Coordinator Diego Mariscal. “We’re thrilled that this grant might allow us to bring in families who might’ve been deterred by the previous registration costs or an impression that 4-H only has animal projects. One 4-H member named Emily recently told us that 4-H has allowed her to develop priceless skills, hobbies, and passions and has made her a completely different person than she otherwise would have been. We took that as an amazing endorsement.”
A new project catalog answers every question anyone might have about what’s going on locally with 4-H. The catalog, compiled by the Marin staff of University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), is a guide to all regular 4-H meetings and an array of classes that include sewing, cooking, crocheting, jam canning, dog training, and raising beef cattle. There’s also handbook for families that summarizes all 4-H programs.
Now the organizers are looking to connect youth and leaders with community projects that deliver the 4-H mission while reducing program management and administration. Local adult volunteer leaders are needed in four subjects: animal science, civic engagement, healthy living, and STEM, otherwise known as science, technology, engineering and math. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old. Project leaders will undertake what could be one of the most important and meaningful experiences in their life as they help youth develop life skills that can be used now and throughout their lives.
At its core, 4‑H is a program that helps young people, and their families gain the skills needed to be proactive forces in their communities and develop ideas for a more innovative economy. In 4‑H programs, youth 5-18 years old complete hands-on projects in areas such as health, science, agriculture, STEM, and civic engagement. High-quality 4-H program settings provide young people a place to belong, matter, and explore their personal spark. Those settings foster developmental relationships with youth -- relationships that express care, challenge growth, and share power. Youth will receive guidance from adult mentors and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles. The comprehensive approach to learning and development helps young people feel empowered and develop critical life skills.
Next year marks the nationwide centennial of 4-H, a reference to Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. In 1924, more than 20 years after the first agricultural after-school clubs were created for kids, 4-H clubs were officially formed under the coordination of the federal government’s Cooperative Extension System. The clover emblem, introduced in 1912, was then adopted by the national clubs.
“The difference 4-H makes for project leaders and participating youth is inspirational -- from my perspective to Marin’s leaders of today growing Marin’s leaders for tomorrow,” said David Lewis, Director of UCCE Marin.
Marin UCCE has program coordinators ready to speak to prospective adult leaders or groups of youngsters about 4-H. Call (415) 473-2641.
David LewisDirectorUniversity of California Cooperative Extension - Marin
1682 Novato Blvd.Suite 150BNovato, CA 94947(415) 473-4204Email: David LewisMarin UCCE website