Hillsborough County 4-H Youth Development Program Provides Hands-On Learning

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Someone holding a centipede at the Hillsborough County 4-H Youth Development Program Open House at the Florida State Fair in Tampa.

Students who strive to improve their life skills to help them become more productive members of society can join the Hillsborough County 4-H Youth Development Program. The Florida Cooperative Extension Youth Development Program is part of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

This program is intended for students aged 5 to 18. It promotes life skills, civic participation and educational activities. Hillsborough County 4-H hosts a club program that covers a wide range of topics, such as photography, breeding, gardening and dog education.

Brandi Yancy, 4-H Youth Development Officer in Hillsborough County, said what sets this program apart: “I grew up in the 4-H program and loved that it was of a family activity for me.

Hillsborough County 4-H also offers two after-school programs, including one in aeronautics, engineering and robotics. The second after-school program educates students about water resources, water conservation as well as steps to protect for future use. A 4-H club consists of a group of five or more students led by one or more adult volunteer leaders.

“We’re always looking for adult volunteers to join a club or become a project leader,” Yancy said.

The Extension Service was established in 1914 by Congress. It aims to provide a means of disseminating and implementing research-based information from granting universities. The University of Florida, located in Gainesville, is one of Florida’s land granting universities. 4-H is found in all counties in Florida as well as in all states and internationally.

Additionally, 4-H has partnered with Tufts University in Massachusetts for over 10 years to study the effectiveness of its youth development programs. The 4-H Positive Youth Development Study conducted by Tufts University found that 4-Hs are four times more likely to give back to their community, twice as likely to make healthier choices and much more .

For more information, visit http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hillsborough/4-h-youth-development/. For upcoming events, visit http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/events/?location=hillsborough. If you are interested in joining or becoming a volunteer, contact 744-5519 ext. 54116 or ext. 54132.

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