I am thinking of joining 4-H. I am vegan. What kinds of activities could I do?
When you join 4-H you join a community club and enroll in projects and participate in group activities and meetings. The club elects officers, conducts educational programs, practices community service and fulfills county club expectations. If you aren’t interested in a particular club, there are single project clubs. The only difference between a community club and a single project club is the focus. Single project clubs focus on one specific project, such as Photography. Jessica, a former vegetarian 4-H'er, belonged to a club that focused only on rabbits. She also said there was a nature drawing club, a double-dutch jump rope club and a public speaking club within her community.
After you have chosen your club you may want to participate in a group activity such as Community Services. Ideas for Community Service could include: collecting personal care items to assist local battered women's shelters or making weighted blankets for autistic children. Other group activities include Healthy Lifestyles, Community Mapping and Entrepreneurship. If an individual project is more your style, you should select a project or create a project to fit your interests. You may select up to 6 projects a year. Your project can be from a wide variety of activities, including: art, computers, conservation & recycling, foods & nutrition, photography, robotics, sewing, speech & drama, bicycling, child development, gardening and much more. If none of the offered projects are appealing then you could do a self-determined project, where you design an activity that meets both the interests and needs of the group and perhaps the community.
After you have chosen your project, a volunteer will lead your 4-H club or project group. It is your responsibility to decide what your goal is with your project, set deadlines and identify obstacles that you must overcome to accomplish your goal. It is your volunteer’s responsibility to help you "learn by doing." Their role is to help you learn about your chosen project, whether that be buying guides to assist you or helping you set your goals, so that you can establish what you have learned by making a handmade item, exhibiting a project at a show or fair, presenting a speech, report or demonstration in a group setting. It is your individual project and it should fit your interests.
Still not sure? Here are a few project ideas:
Dusti, a former vegetarian 4-H'er, only entered equestrian events. She said that if she had to enter other animal events, she would’ve entered “non-slaughter” animals such as a pet rabbit, guinea pig, goose or turkey.
4-H is a community of young people learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. 4-H'ers attend camps, display their work at fairs, travel the world, host youths from other countries, and attend meetings and much more. 4-H members have the opportunity to learn more about activities they are interested in.
The 4-H Pledge is: I pledge my HEAD to clearer thinking, my HEART to greater loyalty, my HANDS to larger service and my HEALTH to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world. What this means is you will use your HEAD by discovering the world around you and finding new ways to see it and yourself. You will learn how to think and act as a team member while working with others to accomplish your goals. You will have the opportunity to build your knowledge, skills and attitude. You will use your HEART by having the chance to talk with other 4-H members and leaders about what is important to you. You will share ideas, thoughts and emotions and form lasting friendships and memories. You will use your HANDS by gaining hands-on experience. You’ll learn new skills and have the opportunity to explore careers that interest you. You'll have fun improving your community while preparing for the future. You will use your HEALTH by developing a healthy lifestyle by learning about food and exercise that can benefit you physically and emotionally.
4-H provides opportunities for young people to learn leadership and life skills. It's also an opportunity for you to share what you learn, whether it’s the proper lighting in photography, the parts of a bicycle or which vegan icing works best. 4-H is what you want it to be.
Written by Corey Bivins, a volunteer with VRG