“Find Your Spark” is the theme of this year’s National 4-H Week, observed October 3-9, 2021.
The theme celebrates the resilience of young people who have brought about significant innovations in agriculture and technology, says Lupita Fabregas, director of the University of Missouri Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development.
“In Missouri 4-H, we offer all youth the opportunity to find their spark!” Fabregas says. Through a variety of educational programs, 4-H members choose their paths to success, she says. “By providing caring adult mentors who have a passion for what they do, we can give youth hands-on experiences to help them on their spark.”
On Sept. 7, Gov. Mike Parson signed a proclamation designating Oct. 3-9 as National 4-H Week in Missouri and encouraging Missourians to recognize 4-H’s significant role in empowering youths in the state.
National 4-H Week is celebrated across Missouri in many ways, Fabregas says. Many clubs use this time to kick off the new 4-H programming year with window displays, yard signs, radio spots, and fun family activities such as scavenger hunts and scarecrow contests. Some clubs use this time for service-learning projects, like thanking first responders or veterans for their service. This is also a popular time for awards and recognition nights when youths are celebrated for completing projects.
The Wednesday of National 4-H Week is always 4-H Spirit Day. Many 4-H’ers use this day to recruit new members.
“I plan to wear a 4-H shirt on Wednesday of National 4-H Week, so when my friends ask about 4-H, I can tell them about what I have done in the program,” says Mallory Hall of the Royal Clover 4-H Club of Johnson County. “I hope to get some of my friends involved in my 4-H club.”
Aaron Baker, leader of the Home Pioneer 4-H Club of Macon County, says club members will be wearing their 4-H T-shirts and sharing their love of 4-H on social media. There will also be a petting zoo, where members will bring their animals and promote various 4-H projects.
One of the most anticipated events of National 4-H Week is the 4-H STEM Challenge. Hundreds of thousands of 4-H youths across the nation are expected to take part in this year’s challenge, “Galactic Quest.” Developed at Clemson University, “Galactic Quest” explores the history of humans in space, the technology and resources needed for missions, and the obstacles humans encounter in orbit. Activities explore STEM topics ranging from physics and engineering to computer science and space agriculture.
To learn more about how to get involved, visit the 4-H website.