It is National 4-H Week.
This year’s “Opportunity4All” campaigns seek to rally support for 4-H and find solutions to the opportunity gap that affects 55 million kids across America, said Jennifer Sirangelo, National 4-H Council president and CEO.
In a press release, she shared how many children struggle to reach their full potential. She added that 4-H believes every child should have an equal opportunity to succeed and gain the skills they need to make a difference in the world.
One such 4-H member is Drachen Koester of St. Louis. Koester recently was named runner-up for the 2021 4-H Youth in Action Pillar Award for Agriculture. He was recognized for his commitment to educating others about the importance of native bees.
Informing young people about pollination
Koester’s passion for native bees and the importance of pollination grew when he was chosen as a state teen leader for the Ag Innovators Experience. After attending a national training to learn about bees, Koester discovered a passion for teaching and a better understanding of the natural world.
Koester used his training to teach 17 other teens about native bees and empowered them to educate others in their communities. Through 41 events statewide, Koester and the leaders he trained taught 1,121 young people about native bees.
Koester says his 4-H experience inspired him to pursue a career in agricultural education. He currently is an intern with the St. Louis County 4-H program to lead teen programming.
As a 4-H member for eight years, Koester was involved in 4-H Robotics, Science Matters, Ag Innovators and Healthy Habits. Koester also was a leader in his Science Matters groups, which addressed community issues, and he attended the National Youth Summit on Agriscience three times.
The 4-H Youth in Action awards, sponsored in part by Bayer, began in 2010 to recognize 4-H’ers who have overcome challenges and used the knowledge they gained in 4-H to create a lasting impact in their communities.
Expanding 4-H reach
In Missouri, more than 57,000 youths and 9,000 volunteers are involved in 4-H. “Our Missouri 4-H members are an example of leadership, professionalism and civic engagement,” Lupita Fabregas, director of University of Missouri Extension’s 4-H Center for Youth Development, said in a news release.
“I am proud of everyone who helps us offer all the youth in our state the opportunity to join the largest youth organization in the United States. This will help us meet the National 4-H goal of serving 10% of our state’s youth by 2025.”
Fabregas challenges every 4-H youth and volunteer to “show their 4-H spirit during National 4-H Week and recruit at least one more member for your 4-H club. We have more than 100 project topics, so there is opportunity for all in Missouri 4-H.”
For information on these programs, visit 4h.missouri.edu or contact your county MU Extension center to speak to a 4-H specialist and find out what is happening in your area.