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Kansas 4-H Specialist Urges Youth to 'Check It Out'
Kansas Ag Connection - 10/22/2020

Beth Hinshaw thinks the Kansas 4-H program has a pretty good thing going. It's why she spends a lot of her time these days encouraging youngsters and their families to get involved.

"It is a new 4-H year," said Hinshaw, the Kansas 4-H youth development specialist for southeast Kansas. "So, this is the time of year when people visit 4-H and make their decisions about joining their local club."

In Kansas, more than 86,000 youth and their families participated in a variety of 4-H programs in 2019. Hinshaw notes that many of those are drawn to the program by one or more of the nearly three dozen project areas that 4-H offers.

"We're proud of the project work that our young people do because they really allow a young person to find their spark...around some kind of subject matter, and go all-in learning about that," Hinshaw said. "A lot of times that will bring a family to 4-H. They have a child that has such a great interest in something and they've heard 4-H is a place where they can learn more about it.

The program is open to youth ages 7 to 18. There are more than 707 4-H clubs in Kansas, including at least one in every county. Hinshaw notes that in addition to pursuing their project interests, youth build such life skills as leadership, communications, making responsible decisions, growing citizenship skills, developing connections, and more -- according to a 2016 survey of 2,600 Kansas youth.

Hinshaw urges youth and families to learn more about the program by contacting their local 4-H club leader, or their local K-State Research and Extension agent.

"We want all young people to find a place and find ways to learn in the Kansas 4-H program," Hinshaw said. "We have skills for young people that are going to last for their lifetime and we hope that they will come and check it out."

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