Is there anyone out there in California’s 4-H?

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What happened to the California 4-H Club as we knew it? 
Today, we receive the new State Newsletter and there is again nothing about Agriculture in it. There is no support for California’s farming/ranching  families, the small backyard farmer, the small families that strive to grow their own food, the concerned family wanting an education for their own family, anymore.  It has all gone the way of “i” this and that and “Thriving”.
Now I am all for healthy living, but isn’t that what we were all about already? Growing, making, and harvesting our own food? Creating, Designing, and Implementing new ideas in Products? Producing and teaching kids about where your food and textiles come from?
    100 years ago, 4-H was about California’s rural and sub-urban families gathering at California’s fairs and showing off their wares, proudly, after a year’s hard work learning new skills and perfecting old ones. A young girl’s work making a family heirloom quilt, this year’s bounty of berries hand picked and canned? The prize winning hog some child raised and hand fed? Newly learned welding skills.. Or how about the skills a young person learning breaking and training horses? Public speaking, writing, recitation?
What about the leadership skills young people learned along this growth path? Serving in their communities, speaking to groups, teaching younger siblings and club kids, working with adults on a youth adult level in their communities?
   4-H has always be associated with creating leaders and young persons who give back and to their communities. For 100 years it has created leaders and adults who have helped train, educate and guide young people into paths of success.  Not peer-to-peer but Adult volunteer to youth.. So I ask … what has happened?
    I, personally, am offended by the Thrive program. I have been a leader in 4-H for almost 20 years and through-out that time I have witnessed a lot of kids who have grown up and become amazing parents and valued members of their communities. The premise of Thrive suggests a “theory of change”, which alludes to something that hasn’t happened before. Well with that, I agree.. The program directs leaders to guide through activities the promotion of  self-awareness and self-competency, self-reflection and the 6 C’s.  “Thriving is defined as demonstrating growth in the functionally valued behaviors of competence, confidence, caring, connection, character, and contribution (AKA 6 Cs) across development.”
     Perhaps, the premise is not bad, but has 4-H become and after-school program? Have we abandoned the rural, farming, small town family?  Newsletter after newsletter I look for the promoting of agriculture, clean food, clean water, sustainable agriculture, protecting California’s agricultural resources, promoting new technologies and month after month the news is about … afterschool programs..

Have we been forgotten?

4-H is about pledging our
 HEAD TO CLEARER THINKING-Clarity, truth, education, critical thinking, plan, reason
HEART TO GREATER LOYALTY-Commitment, faithfulness, caring, respect, understanding, trusting, being noble, true
HANDS TO GREATER SERVICE- Learn by Doing.. and using those skills to share and train others.  to serve in a larger capacity than yourself. To be a Model Citizen, to be helpful, to be useful-a contributor.
HEALTH TO BETTER LIVING- Self, education on learning to take care of myself.
  FOR MY CLUB- Successes in learned practices to benefit my club, what can I share?
  FOR MY COMMUNITY-What impacts can I make in my community for what I have learned?
  FOR MY COUNTRY-Am I a mentor, Have I shared what I have learned?
  FOR MY WORLD-What do I give to benefit Society?

It’s not about Self-
It’s all about Self-less.

The Motto: To make the BEST … BETTER.. 
4-H- It’s all about STRIVING! REACHING, COMPETING, WORKING, GIVING AND SHARING!

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