Celebration 100 years in Merced County 4-H
During this year many things are happening to Explore Our Past and to Grow Our Future. Check out 4-H displays from clubs and county at 4-H events, Farm Bureau meetings, CWA luncheon, Los Banos and Merced Fairs, and at Merced Courthouse Museum in August of 2017. A 4-H Picnic Day reunion is being planned for August in the Courthouse Park.
A special 4-H history and stories booklet is being developed for August. Please consider sharing your 4-H story using the paper or on-line form. Paper share a story or on-line http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=20213
At the turn of the 20th century there were many concerns about the plight of children across our nation. In response to this overall concern, many programs started to address the needs of young people. The 4-H program was one of these that began in a simultaneous response throughout various parts of the country, gathering the ideas of many different individuals into the development of one large program over the last hundred years.
The program began with a focus on rural youth to extend agricultural education through "learning by doing" projects and clubs. But soon expanded to reach many youth from farms, cities, and towns with the elements of positive youth development.
The roots of 4-H began at the turn of the century when progressive educators started to emphasize the needs of young people and to introduce nature study as a basis for a better agricultural education. "Boys and Girls Club Work" as some of this effort was then called, and leagues were established in schools and churches to meet these needs. To spark the interest of young people, Farmers Institutes cooperated with school superintendents by promoting production contests, soil tests and plant identification. By March 1904 several boys and girls clubs had already exhibited projects. Most states organized clubs outside the schools with rural parents acting as volunteer leaders and County Extension agents provided materials. Farmers saw the practical benefits and public support and enthusiasm for 4-H grew throughout the nation.
The first use of the term "4-H Club" in a federal document appeared in 1918 in a bulletin written by Gertrude L. Warren. By 1924, wider usage of the name "4-H" was adopted. This was used thereafter throughout the world.
Local history since 1917 shows the changes for the rural only days to a combination of agricultural literacy to nutrition and science, engineering and technology of today. Now with urban and rural youth from many settings in our towns and cities we are still creating positive and contributing citizens of tomorrow.