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4-H is a youth outreach program of the Oregon State University Extension Service. It is present in nearly every county across the United States, in 30 other countries and on every Army Base around the world. It reaches 8 million youth annually.
Although most people think 4-H is all about cooking or cows, it is really about building productive and successful citizens through youth development. Youth development is defined as: the process of growing up and developing one’s capacities in positive ways. Research shows that when you get involved in meaningful activities in the context of your community not only does it promote healthy development (in terms of careers, life skills, and leadership), but it also has positive outcomes like providing motivation to avoid health risks during the teen years.
4-H programs have a strong, lasting influence on young people and their health behaviors. 4-H alumni share three common characteristics:
1) strong leadership skills
2) a sense of family and community
3) being active, productive, and caring citizens.
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