We’re reminded of these foundational pillars each time we recite the 4-H pledge, and whether you're in Brooklyn, NY; Grand Island, NE; or any other city around the globe, the four H's are a great reminder of the components of life that we should attend to so we can achieve a healthy balance for the betterment of ourselves, our club, our country, and our world.

During the months of January and February, we'll be discussing the importance of each area and highlighting products that can help you advance your growth in this year new.

Societal Issue: Thanks to continual advances in technology, today’s world is more connected than ever before, but young people are also facing new challenges as a result. It is becoming more important that youth have well-developed critical thinking skills to thrive in this rapidly changing environment.  

Solution: A strong foundation in active listening, critical thinking, and curiosity creates young people equipped to evaluate reliable information sources, develop well-reasoned arguments, build collaborative connections with those who are different from them, and communicate clearly.

4-H's Role: A key component of all 4-H programs is developing young people’s critical thinking skills. The understanding and confidence that youth learn in these programs help them develop life skills to be true leaders in their communities.


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Societal Issue: With the increasing accessibility of the internet and smartphones, our global population has become an ever-connected society in ways that were once unimaginable. These technologies enable us to maintain close bonds across geographical distances, but the social media driven culture can also encourage a destructive need for constant affirmation and instant gratification.

Solution: Participating in group-based organizations and service activities provides youth the opportunities to step outside of themselves, recognize the commonality among all people, and realize how important relationships with others are to the health of ourselves and our communities.

4-H’s Role: 4-H provides many opportunities for youth to engage with others -- whether that be at robotics competitions, the county fair, or 4-H Congress – and at these events, 4-Hers engage with people from different backgrounds with varied life experiences. This exposure to people different from themselves helps 4-Hers develop a mindset of understanding and putting others first to build a better club, community, country and world.


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Societal Issue: While technology has enabled people in previously unconnected communities to engage with others and learn new skills, these gadgets can also encourage people to remain stagnant while playing games and reading on their tablets.  

Solution: To continue addressing society-wide issues, young people need to put themselves in situations where they are solving problems and learning new skills by experiencing them first-hand in a safe and encouraging environment of trial, error, and trial again.

4-H’s Role: Since the early 1900s, 4-H has been built on a foundation of “learn by doing,” which invites young people to experience new things with minimal guidance from adults. Instead of being told the answers, they are presented with questions and problems which they must make sense of for themselves by getting their hands dirty and diving in. It is called experiential learning.


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Societal Issue: Today’s young people face many unique challenges and environmental pressures that require resilience and good heath to thrive.  

  • Mind - Academic pressure, Emotional stress, Lack of sleep

  • Body - Poor nutrition, Lack of movement and physical activity, Substance abuse

Solution: A strong foundation of healthy living skills creates young adults equipped to navigate life’s challenges, pursue their passions, and contribute to the world around them.

4-H’s Role: 4-H Healthy Living programming empowers youth to be healthy – body and mind – with the skills to make healthy decisions and lead healthy lifestyles through peer-led, hands-on, community-focused activities.

4-H’s Impact: Research shows that 4-H’s healthy living programs make 4-H’ers:

  • More likely to spend more hours being physically active

  • Two times more likely than peers to make healthy decisions

  • Four times more likely than peers to take action in their community

  • Concerned about the health of peers and family and can think of innovative solutions to health issues.


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