An Open Letter to Pennsylvania Legislators: We Need 4-H

Dear Governor Tom Wolf and PA Legislators, 

I know I speak for thousands when I say, "I don't know where I'd be without 4-H". I started 4-H at nine years old, with very little knowledge of agriculture and a market goat. This organization, that you are trying to take away, positively impacted my life more than any sports team I played on or club I joined in high school. I know I am only one person, but I speak for thousands, if not millions. 

4-H is for everyone. I joined with little knowledge of agriculture. I chose to pursue showing livestock, but there are projects to fit the interests of any child. From sewing and cooking, to archery and fishing, the possibilities are plentiful. 4-Hers can choose any project they like and the best adults you will ever meet are there, ready to guide and teach. 

Valuable life lessons are learned through 4-H. There is no better way to learn responsibility than caring for an animal every single day. Keeping records on feed bought and money spent teaches vital money management skills. 4-Hers will turn down parties to wake up at 6 am to be at a jackpot show the next morning. But they don't lose friends, because the best lifelong friendships are made through 4-H. Then, at the end of the summer when it's time for the country fair, 4-Hers have the opportunity to dress for success and take pride in their projects. But just as in life, not every situation works out in your favor. So, 4-Hers learn to accept defeat with grace and shake the judges hand anyway. 

4-H teaches youth the importance of community involvement. We learn early on to help others through community service projects and it soon becomes second nature. Not to mention, 4-H grows leaders. The shy little girl that starts out as the club reporter, may just be Miss America in 10-20 years. 

Children involved in 4-H do better in school. Inside and outside of the classroom they are constantly learning and applying their knowledge. The knowledge of the agriculture industry that I gained from my time in 4-H led me to study Agricultural Communications and Journalism at Texas A&M. Had I not been involved in 4-H, I never would have found my passion. Without 4-H in Pennsylvania, the careers in agriculture will not be filled because the interest will be gone. Then what? No farmers, no food. How will the future generations even know that their food comes from a farm without 4-H and extension educators?

The 4-H motto is, "To Make The Best Better". From rural Somerset County to intercity Philadelphia, there are 4-H programs helping better the lives of thousands of children. It's an absolute shame that PA Governor Tom Wolf cannot see the negative impact his decision will have on the people of Pennsylvania and the generations to come. 

We need to continue to sign the petition to STOP the defunding of Agricultural Programs in Pennsylvania. Also, the Somerset County 4-H Facebook Page has shared how to contact legislators and make our voices heard! I hope that the Legislators will see the importance of 4-H in Pennsylvania, but until they do, we need to take action! Help spread the word and share the importance of 4-H!! 

Sincerely,

4-Hers of Pennsylvania

Julia Hay4 Comments