Clover Change, a statewide 4-H project to assist with Hurricane Katrina relief, will be just one of the ways Virginia 4-H members will celebrate national 4-H Week Oct. 2 to 8.

Clover Change canisters featuring the green 4-H clover have appeared in many communities and 4-H contacts will work through 4-H Week to collect money. Volunteer leaders and 4-H members working with the Virginia Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development agents are serving as the 4-H contacts. In many communities they are working with businesses and organizations to collect funds, which will be forwarded to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

“It shows 4-H’ers learning about generosity,” said Robert Ray Meadows, state director of 4-H youth development at Virginia Tech. “Everyone thought it was an important way to celebrate 4-H Week.”

4-H youth development programs are designed to address the developmental needs of youth, Meadows said. 4-H is an educational program that incorporates the essential elements researchers have described as that which young people need to become productive citizens. These elements are belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity

Belonging includes a positive relationship with a caring adult and an inclusive and safe environment for youth. 4-H’s constructive learning experiences encourage youth to develop mastery of a subject the youths select for themselves. 4-H’s opportunities for self-determination and to see oneself as an active participant in the future, give members the chance to learn independence.

The Clover Change program is just one example of the many ways 4-H helps young people learn the generosity element. Community service is an integral part of 4-H and fundraising efforts have become traditions in State and National Congress and in many other ways.

The national 4-H theme this year is “Get Connected To 4-H.” Virginia 4-H has almost 200,000 members. It has one of the largest camping program in the nation through its six 4-H educational centers.

Virginia 4-H is the youth development program of Virginia Cooperative Extension. Virginia Cooperative Extension provides the research-based educational resources of the land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to individuals, families, groups and organizations especially in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. It operates through a network of on-campus and local Extension offices and educators who provide leadership for programs that bring the to help all the citizens of the Commonwealth.

For more information about national 4-H Week activities, contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension agent / office or 4-H educational center.

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