Stratton Stafford Grand Champion Sim-Angus Heifer at Central Region 4-H Beef Expo web.jpg

Stratton Stafford earns Grand Champion honors with his Sim-Angus Heifer at the Central Region 4-H Beef Expo.   Submitted

From our humble beginnings in 1902, when we were known as “The Tomato Club” and the “Corn Growing Club,” to now in 2020, 4-H has continued to adapt to meet the current needs of our communities and fulfill our mission of developing capable, responsible and compassionate adults. In a year where everyone has been tasked to adapt to a new way of doing things, 4-H again is ready to answer the call.

4-H is most often associated with agriculture and livestock projects, and for good reason! We are proud of our roots in agriculture and continue that heritage by providing the youth in Giles County many ag-related activities. These activities run the gamut from raising chickens in the 4-H Chick Chain project to exhibiting livestock such as pigs, sheep, goats, beef cattle and horses. 4-H youth are also able to learn critical evaluation skills by competing in poultry, forestry, meats identification and livestock judging.

Katelin Burch and Garth Marchant lead ATV Safety demonstration at the Giles Chamber's Chili Cook-off web.jpg

Katelin Burch and Garth Marchant lead an ATV Safety demonstration at the Giles County Chamber’s Chili Cook-off.   Submitted

But what you may not know about 4-H, is that we also offer non-agriculture related programs to engage the needs of our diverse clientele such as photography, clover bowl, history bowl, creative arts and design, shooting sports and culinary arts. So, whether you’re interested in exhibiting a steer at the state beef expo, prefer to be the one capturing photography for the event or daydream about all the delicious dishes that can be created with beef — 4-H has something for YOU!

4-H is for youth in fourth-12th grade, regardless of whether you are a public, private, virtual or home school learner. Junior and senior high 4-H’ers can stay involved through service learning and leadership activities as well as attending camps and conferences.

Avery and MaeLee Williamson receiving their prizes for the 4-H Chopped culinary contest web.jpg

Avery Williamson and MaeLee Williamson receive their prizes for the 4-H Chopped culinary contest.   Submitted

Each 4-H’er has the chance to be recognized for their participation in club or project activities as well as their leadership and citizenship efforts at the county (4-H Honor Club), region (All Stars) and state (Vol State) level. Scholarships are even available for outstanding senior high 4-H’ers!

Calum Lavacot's Grand Champ Katahdin Ewe at Central Region 4-H Sheep Expo exhibited by Gately Pfeiffer web.png

Calum Lavacot’s Katahdin Ewe takes home Grand Champion honors at the Central Region 4-H Sheep Expo. The ewe was exhibited by Gately Pfeiffer.   Submitted

There’s no doubt, 4-H wouldn’t be able to offer this variety of opportunities to youth in our community without the help of dedicated 4-H volunteers. Whether it’s leading a project group or judging team, spending a week at Junior 4-H Camp or transporting youth to an event, 4-H volunteers play a critical role in the success of the program.

We’re currently looking for volunteers to help with shooting sports, horse and sewing projects. If you are a 4-H alum or are

willing to invest your time and talents into helping develop life skills in the next generation of community leaders, contact the UT-TSU Extension Giles County office at 363-3523.

4-H In-School Clubs look a little bit different this year as we’ve moved to a virtual format for the time being. But rest assured, we are still committed to developing essential life skills in our community’s youth by providing them the opportunity to compete in monthly 4-H contests. You can stay up-to-date on what’s going on in 4-H by heading to tiny.utk.edu/gc4hclubs .

A lot has happened in 4-H’s 118-year history, but even as times and needs have changed, 4-H is still standing tall as the nation’s largest youth development organization. The Giles County 4-H staff continues to be committed to “making the best better” in 2020 and beyond.

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