By Andrew Yuan, 4-H Youth Mentor, Pinellas County Extension
Next Sunday marks the start of National 4-H Week, the one week out of the year where 4-H is given even more attention and extra celebration. The event is from October 4th to October 10th so mark your calendars.
If you don’t already know, 4-H is a national youth organization dedicated to teaching youth invaluable life skills with a focus on “hands-on” learning. With a motto of “to make the best better” and the popular slogan of “learn by doing” the Florida 4-H program has been going strong for 100 years with the celebration of the Florida 4-H Centennial this year of 2009. 4-H has always been evolving with the times which can clearly be seen with its most recent initiative of the 4-H SET programming which consists of curriculum and events focused on science, engineering, and technology. The 4-H SET programming is still reaching numbers of about 5 million youth a year after its launch and a new curriculum developed by the University of Florida titled “Butterfly Wings” was recently released. The new curriculum teaches youth ages 9-13 about environmental science, citizen science, butterfly biology, identification, habitats, and monitoring.
National 4-H Week will also be off to an interesting start with the 4-H Emblem making its debut appearance in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series race, sported on the back of car driven by Jeff Gordon. This exciting event is just of the tip of the week’s celebration. The real highlight of the week will be the highly anticipated second annual
4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD) on October 7, 2009. This one day out of the year exemplifies all of the goals of the 4-H SET initiative as youth in 4-H all around the country do the same experiment to learn about a relevant topic. This year’s experiment is called “Biofuel Blast.” Youth all around the country will have the opportunity to learn about alternative energy sources, an extremely important topic in the current global situation. Through the experiment, youth will be making their own biofuel, ethanol, through the simple reaction of yeast and sugars. The main materials for the experiment are balloons, yeast, a plastic container, and corn syrup. Complete kits were available through the National 4-H Mall for any 4-H groups interested in the experiment but the procedure can even be carried out safely from the home with all materials available in local grocery stores.
4-H is well on its way to another successful National Youth Science Day and another successful year with National 4-H Week and new developments always on the horizon.
National 4-H Website http://4-h.org/
“Butterfly Wings” Curriculum News http://4-h.org/news/?p=387
4-H Emblem NASCAR News http://4-h.org/news/?p=439
4-H National Youth Science Day https://www.4-h.org/NYSD/
4-H SET http://4-h.org/programs_mission_mandates/set.html