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Posted: August 11, 2012 5:57 p.m.

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Kimble: 4-H kicks off another year

I have a nomination for Georgia Public Radio's "Atlanta Sounds" segment: the sound of new 4-H'ers reciting the 4-H pledge for the first time.

"I pledge my head to clearer thinking," they'll say, timidly holding a hand to their head and listening for the next line to repeat.

In just a few months, they'll rattle it off confidently, and by their first district event, they'll shout it out in excitement with hundreds of other 4-H'ers.

New 4-H'ers in Newton County will say the pledge over the next two weeks as we kick off another year of 4-H.

But don't forget, while two of us can only visit so many classrooms, 4-H is for everyone.

If your son or daughter will turn 9 years old by Dec. 31, he or she is old enough for 4-H.

Home school, private school and public school students participate at all grade levels.

We also have a home school club, a County Council for middle and high school, and other clubs which meet outside of school hours.

To sign up, visit our website at or visit the office on the second floor of the Newton County Administration Building to fill out an enrollment card.

You can also meet 4-H'ers and sign up for 4-H at the Covington Tractor Supply on Saturday, Aug. 18 during their pet celebration.

Once we have this in the system for the new school year, you will receive monthly newsletters which include meeting dates, upcoming activities and other announcements.

There are a variety of competitions, service projects, leadership opportunities and fun events throughout the year, and each 4-H'er may choose which events are of the most interest.

4-H membership is always free; individual events may have a cost.

Why join 4-H?

Because it fits the needs of nearly every youth, that's why.

Consider this: for the last several years, I've judged scholarship applications for my college's alumni association. Nearly every time, active 4-H'ers rise to the top of this selection process.

And that just isn't on my scorecard, but on every committee member's scorecard.

Why is that?

The committee isn't just looking for good grades. In fact, someone with perfect grades and scores but little community service, leadership, or other activities will often fall to the bottom of the pile.
The same goes for someone who only did one thing, even if he did it very well.

A 4-H'er will often have tried out a variety of activities in his career, eventually finding an area of focus such as nutrition, sports, arts, science, technology or agriculture.

Within that area, he then competed in judging events and project achievement, taught younger students and community members, held leadership positions and served the community.

Plus, this 4-H'er probably wasn't only a member of 4-H - he also joined other teams and organizations. In fact, he was probably a leader in those organizations, too, thanks to his 4-H experience.

And then, to top it all off - he learned how to most effectively record all this activity through the project achievement portfolio.

I imagine some of the students unsuccessfully applying for the scholarship did some of the same work, but just didn't figure out how to best present it in an application or resume.

The active 4-H'er's application is well organized to the questions asked, and has specific details such as "172 coats collected" or "201 youth taught 10 hours of Health Rocks curriculum."

This applicant shows a breadth and depth of experience in high school, which lets the committee know this person will be an active and successful member of the college, and use the scholarship well.
So what are you waiting on? Sign up for 4-H today

If you are interested in serving as a 4-H volunteer, now is also a great time for you to sign up.

Potential volunteers must submit and application for background check and references.

A volunteer meeting and training is planned for Thursday, Sept. 6, where you can learn more about the opportunities available this year and how you can help.

To find out more, sign up for the training, or receive your application, call or visit the 4-H office.

With your help, we'll make the best better again this year.

Terri Kimble is the Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at (770) 784-2010 or


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