Head, heart, hands and health.
Those four Hs are the foundation of one of the most worthwhile organizations offered to youth. National 4-H Week unfolded Sunday and will continue through Saturday.
It is a time to showcase an entity that is nothing short of a national treasure. 4-H clubs have instilled a myriad of life-long values into our nation's young people.
The 4-H mission is to "empower youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults."
Moreover, the 4-H vision is "A world in which youth and adults can learn, grow and work together as catalysts for positive change."
What a positive and refreshing credo to guide youth.
We in the Ohio Valley are blessed to have a strong 4-H base. Belmont County, alone, has some 30 4-H clubs. Harrison, Jefferson and Monroe counties all have strong 4-H numbers.
Today's young people often take a bad rap. They are saddled with being called lazy, disinterested and lacking vision. The 4-H program dispels those beliefs, as service is one of the driving forces of the organization.
The program is associated with young people, but 4-H could not exist and excel if not for the volunteers who donate their time, caring, love and expertise to their respective clubs.
Belmont County 4-Hers are guided by 200 volunteers, many who have more than three decades of such service to their credit. Harrison County has 100 volunteers involved in their 4-H clubs.
4-H is the nation's largest youth development organization, as more than 6 million youths from all backgrounds and environments are active members.
Just as impressive is 540,000 volunteers who serve as an engine to make such an impressive machine operate.
The benefits of the 4-H program are obvious and numerous. Just a few: 4-Hers are two times as likely to get good grades; nearly two times are more likely to go to college; 41 percent less likely to engage in risky behaviors; and 25 percent more likely to positively contribute to their families and communities.
Those are gaudy and life-shaping statistics.
We commend the work and dedication of all 4-H members and their volunteer leadership.
They are a special breed of people, making a positive difference in today's society.