October 2007
4-H Extension Corner

Welcome back to the 4-H Extension Corner! Well, this is my favorite season of the year. You have 4-H starting up, football, county and state fairs. Great volunteers throughout the state have started a new year of working with excited young kids. They are ready to be taught and challenged with new ideas and opportunities. 4-H offers a great place for them to increase their leadership abilities and maybe even find out what they want to be or do when they grow up. Call your county extension office and find out how you can be involved with the development of our Alabama youth or go to www.aces.edu/fourh/.

There is always a great sense of excitement with the start of the new school year and the new 4-H year. As you know, 4-H is all about learning. We recognize that Alabama’s future is directly related to the knowledge and abilities of our future leaders, and we are all committed to "make the best better." 4-H volunteers and Extension staff also know the importance that the home, the community and the family play in young people’s future success. And attitude is everything!

So, what’s the education attitude in your household? Do you inspire your children with a love of learning – or do you subtly suggest that "schoolin’" is something painful to be endured?

It’s not hard to recognize that your attitude is contagious. If you celebrate and support the whole notion of learning, it’s clear your child will do better in school. And the research shows success in school is directly related to professional success, physical health and emotional well-being.

There are many things we as parents and families can do to encourage learning. Children are more likely to read in households where there are books and magazines. They are more likely to become confident if adults cheer them on instead of pressuring them and criticizing their work.

Even with the youngest children, you can support them in building the processes that lead to intellectual development.

· Encourage your child to ask questions.

· Ask them what they think and let them develop their own opinions.

· Read to your children and talk about what you’ve read.

· Actively listen to your children’s conversations, responding seriously and non-judgmentally to the questions they raise.

· When your children express feelings, ask why they feel that way.

· Suggest your children locate information to support their opinions.

· Use entertainment—a TV program or a movie—as the basis for family discussions.

· Reward your children for creative activity.

· Let children "learn by doing," a cornerstone of 4-H education.

· Serve as a role model to show learning is an ongoing and enjoyable experience.

· Show interest in what your children are learning.

· Offer constant encouragement so your children can learn effectively.

· Acknowledge and celebrate your children’s efforts to learn.

Yes, learning is a life-long proposition. The minute we stop learning, our brains stop functioning. A commitment to learning benefits our children, our communities, but most of all it benefits us as individuals.

Grab the kids and head out to the fairs - local and state. Kids love to go out and ride the rides, eat the food and see the animals. 4-Hers will be out in strength to show the projects they have been working with back at home. The fairs are a great family outing and can go a long way in showing the youth of Alabama where their food really comes from. It is not developed at Wal-Mart!

Here are some of the winner photos from the State Horse Show.

Thank you for reading!

Until next time, God Bless!

James Shropshire is the Alabama 4-H Regional Extension Agent for the Central Alabama Region. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Elmore County team won the Senior Hippology. Members are Elizabeth Moulton and Katie Hill (not pictured - Brystal Butler and Jessica Forley).

Autauga County team won the Senior Horse Judging. Members are Kelsey Collins, Kaitlin Collins, Victoria Norman and Elizabeth Petrunic.

Autauga County team won the Senior Quiz Bowl. Members are Breanna Echols, Kelsey Collins, Brianna Patten and Elizabeth Petrunic.