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4-H Members Learn About Drone Tech During National 4-H Week

National Youth Science Day is Wed., October 5.

It’s the first week of October, and that means a week of celebrating 4-H nationwide. For an organization that’s 6 million children strong, National 4-H Week means showcasing the great things those young people are doing every day. 

As the youth development program of the USDA and cooperative Extension system, 4-H members are naturally exposed to agriculture through their individual groups. Every single 4-H club in the U.S. is connected to an agricultural college and each group gives members the opportunity to showcase their efforts at their local fairs. 

What 4-H also strives to do is to put science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in members’ hands. Some 4-H science programs even choose to focus on environmental science, agriscience, biotechnology, and veterinary science.

Exposing Members to STEM Opportunities

During this week, the organization will host National Youth Science Day and put drone technology and information in the hands of over 100,000 young people through the Drone Discovery challenge developed by Cornell University. 

“As you know, one of our biggest challenges in agriculture is getting kids to see the exciting careers in agriculture that relate to technology,” says Jennifer Sirangelo, National 4-H Council president and CEO. 

In what 4-H believes is the largest youth-led engineering design challenge, members ages 8 to 18 will learn about the science behind unmanned flights, remote sensing, and drone technology, but more importantly they’ll learn how to apply those things to help communities. Older members may dive into the programming side of drone technology while younger children can focus more on the basics of flight. 

“I love that 4-H has all its roots in agriculture, and our ties there are as strong as ever,” says Sirangelo. “We are uniquely positioned to help tell the story of agriculture and share opportunities in the industry with kids in urban areas, too.” 

Each year, 4-H students create 5 million STEM-related projects to be showcased and judged: 2 million of those projects are animal science projects, and the other 3 million projects are based on energy, science, environmental science, plants, and agriculture science.

A Push to Share 4-H Memories

This year, 4-H is making a big push for alumni – like the USDA’s deputy secretary, Michael Scuse – to tell their 4-H stories. Through the hashtag #4HGrown, the organization hopes to see pictures, hear stories, and learn of memories that 4-H alumni have held onto from their time as 4-H members. 

“Our real goal is to reengage our alumni, so they can help us to recruit more young people to join 4-H because of the impact it has on kids,” says Sirangelo.

Alumni who are hoping to get involved can help by simply talking to children about the value of 4-H, but they can also seek out opportunities to volunteer in their communities. 

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