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Minnesota celebrates National 4-H Week October 4-8

Media Contact: Wendy Huckaby, U of M Extension, (612) 624-4333,

Minneapolis/St. Paul (10/1/2010) -- During National 4-H Week, Oct. 4-8, 2010, youth throughout Minnesota will celebrate how 4-H helps them make a difference in their lives and communities today, and prepare for tomorrow.

Approximately 123,486 young people across Minnesota participated in University of Minnesota Extension's 4-H program in 2009 -- nearly a quarter of all youth between the ages of 5-19 living in the state.

"4-H provides positive non-school learning opportunities that are critical for the development of young people," said Dorothy McCargo Freeman, Extension's 4-H youth development state program leader. "As a result, 4-H youth are able to contribute and make a difference in positive ways in their homes, schools and communities throughout Minnesota."

4-H "learn by doing" experiences encourage youth to experiment, innovate and think independently. 4-H programs are offered through school-based, after-school and camp settings and within community clubs, where groups meet regularly to work on projects, perform community service and develop leadership skills. Through this unique process, youth obtain essential life skills such as problem solving, decision making, coping and communicating.

Today's 4-H projects include the traditional and still popular animal science projects, as well as community service learning. But 4-H youth also work on cutting-edge technology projects, such as robotics, GPS, and video production; and environmental projects, like testing water in area streams for contaminants.

During 4-H Week, Minnesota 4-H youth will also join hundreds of thousands of 4-H'ers throughout the nation on Oct. 6 to celebrate 4-H National Youth Science Day. To combat a national shortage of young people pursuing science careers, 4-H National Youth Science Day sparks an early interest in science, engineering, technology and math. This year's experiment will teach youth how increased amounts of carbon dioxide can affect aquatic animals, plants and other living organisms in lakes, streams, rivers and oceans.

Research shows that 4-H programs are making a difference in the lives of youth. According to a 2009 report from the Tufts University national 4-H study of positive youth development, compared to youth in other programs, 4-H youth:

* have better grades;
* are more emotionally engaged with school and are more likely to see themselves going to college; and
* are more than twice as likely to be civically active and make contributions to their communities

To learn more about 4-H Week and National 4-H Youth Science Day activities and events in your area, contact your local 4-H Extension educator or 4-H program coordinator at

Minnesota 4-H is a youth development program provided through the University of Minnesota Extension. The 4-H mission is to engage Minnesota youth in quality learning opportunities that enable them to shape and reach their full potential as active citizens in a global community. Last year, more than 123,000 kids throughout Minnesota participated in 4-H and learned invaluable life skills while meeting developmental needs of independence, belonging, generosity and mastery.

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