Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES - 4-H members throughout New Mexico will celebrate National 4-H Week Oct. 1-7 with special events like open houses and recruiting campaigns.
The annual celebration recognizes 6.6 million youth involved in 4-H all over the country, including 70,000 youth in New Mexico.
"4-H is America's largest nonformal educational program for youth," said Jess Holloway, state 4-H department head with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. "It makes a major contribution to our nation by helping youth acquire knowledge and develop life skills so that they may become self-directing, productive community members in the future."
4-H members learn by doing. Clubs are for members 9 to 19 years old and there are special activities for young children, school groups, and others. Members can choose from projects ranging from archery to baking, and livestock to photography. No matter what the project, 4-H members learn skills they can use their entire lives, such as leadership and citizenship, said Holloway.
Several counties in the state will have special events during National 4-H Week, including Bernalillo County, which is having an informational open house on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. at the 4-H Center at 1500 Menaul NW. County leaders will be speaking about specific clubs and each club will have a booth. For more information call (505) 243-1386.
San Juan County will present a 4-H Promotion Award to the club with the best 4-H Week activity. Otero County has public service announcements running, and Quay County will be running advertisements and radio spots. For more information about 4-H, call your local Extension office, or check the National 4-H Web site at www.4-h.org.
Every county in New Mexico has a 4-H program. New Mexico 4-H began in 1911 as a county club called the "Corn Club" that was organized near Las Cruces a year before New Mexico became a state.
When the Smith-Lever Act was passed by Congress in 1914, Extension work expanded and new projects were introduced. The first State Club Camp was held in Albuquerque during the State Fair in 1915. In 1918 there were more than 4,000 4-H members in New Mexico helping families grow food and manage resources during World War I.
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