4-H programs developed to engage more Illinois youth
From press release
URBANA, Ill.—Illinois 4-H recently launched two new programs that are creating positive developmental experiences for young people across Illinois. Supported through University of Illinois Extension, Illinois 4-H is expanding its Special Interest, or “SPIN,” and Military 4-H club programs. More than 25,000 Illinois youth are members of 4-H clubs.
“We are very excited about our new 4-H club programs,” said Denise Legvold, assistant dean and director of Illinois 4-H. “4-H clubs allow young people, often from diverse backgrounds and experiences, to come together for fun, hands-on learning experiences. Through these valuable opportunities, youth gain independence, develop a sense of belonging, and learn important life skills.”
SPIN clubs allow kids ages 8 to 18 with common interests or hobbies to meet as a club and share their special interest. Whether their passion is sailing, robotics, community theater, or just about any other topic, kids can gain knowledge and enhance their skills through a positive group experience. A SPIN club can be started with as few as one adult volunteer leader and five young people with an interest in a particular topic. While an adult leader provides expertise and guidance, club members take an active role in planning and running their own activities.
“Traditionally, 4-H programs have been community-based,” Legvold said. “SPIN clubs reach out beyond local communities to bring kids and families with common interests together. They are a great way to introduce young people to a specific hobby or interest they might not otherwise have a chance to develop.”
Illinois 4-H is also advancing its Military 4-H club program. The program is organized through Illinois 4-H’s Operation: Military Kids.
Operation: Military Kids provides a support network for military youth living in civilian communities. The initiative is a partnership of Army Child and Youth Services, USDA National 4-H Headquarters, and the U of I Extension 4-H Program.
The Military 4-H club program provides for enjoyable, positive learning activities for children of Illinois military families. Through clubs formed around special projects or topics, military youth pursue hobbies or special interests, establish meaningful relationships with peers, maintain connections with deployed parents, develop important coping skills, and more. Military 4-H clubs have been established at Rock Island Arsenal and Scott Air Force Base, and a 4-H youth club program is being formed at Naval Station Great Lakes.
“Every U.S. military installation is mandated by the federal government to have a 4-H program, and 4-H programs are currently available in 72 countries throughout the world,” Legvold said. “Since military families move frequently, having 4-H activities available to military youth wherever they reside adds stability to their lives.”
U of I Extension youth development educators are available to assist families or communities in starting a 4-H club in their area.
For more information about Illinois 4-H SPIN clubs, contact Kimberly Rahn at (815) 268-4051 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about Military 4-H clubs, contact Patricia McGlaughlin at (217) 333-0910 or email@example.com.
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