“Youth is the hope of our future,” said 19th century polymath Jose Rizal. Rizal was on to something and so was educator and founder of 4-H, Albert Graham, who recognized that the youth in his township of Springfield, Ohio, were open and eager to learn. In 1902, Graham held the first meeting of the Boys and Girls Agricultural Club in the basement of what is now known as the A.B. Graham Building. Thirty boys and girls were in attendance. Graham’s goal was to teach the youth in his community practical life skills such as gardening, corn harvesting, knot tying, and soil testing.
Today’s 4‑H serves youth in rural, urban, and suburban communities in all 50 states. 4‑H youth tackle issues like global food security, climate change and sustainable energy, childhood obesity, and food safety. 4‑H programs, camps, and clubs, provide a variety of STEM-centered opportunities, including agricultural and animal sciences, robotics, and more. The name 4-H refers to the letter H, which occurs four times in the organization’s original motto “head, heart, hands, and health.”
Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society has six active 4-H clubs: The FARM Institute Cloverbuds (ages 5–7), Slough Farm Super Silos (ages 8–10), Winging It! (ages 8–11), Paint What You See Club (ages 8–12), Crafts of Yesteryear Club (ages 9-12), and Just a Pinch Baking Club (ages 11–14).
This year at the Agricultural Fair, these six bustling 4-H clubs will collaborate with a number of the Island’s nonprofit organizations, providing a variety of educational programs. Some of the partnering organizations include the Aquinnah Cultural Council, which will be sharing the process for making corn husk dolls; Misty Meadows Equine Learning Center, which will bring some horses along for the public to connect with, and the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation will offer a number of bird-focused activities. These activities will be held in the big barn and run on a rotating basis, 11 am to 5 pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and 11 am to 3 pm on Sunday.
“We’re also encouraging all of our 4-H participants to enter things related to their club — this may include baked goods for the baking club, animals for the livestock clubs, or art for the painting club,” said Lucy Grinnan, 4-H and Program Coordinator.
The 4-H Club is always looking for ways to create new experiences for Island youth. They’d love to add new clubs in a variety of areas — mechanics, woodworking, archery, art, cooking, animals, nature and more. Learn more about 4-H or volunteer by emailing 4H@mvagsoc.org.