“Find Your Spark” is the theme of this year’s National 4-H Week, observed Oct. 3-9.

The theme celebrates the resilience of young people who have brought about significant innovations in agriculture and technology, says Lupita Fabregas, director of the University of Missouri Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development.

“In Missouri 4-H, we offer all youth the opportunity to find their spark!” Fabregas says. Through a variety of educational programs, 4-H members choose their own paths to success, she says. “By providing caring adult mentors who have a passion about what they do, we are able to give youth hands-on experiences to help them on their spark.”

On Sept. 7, Gov. Mike Parson signed a proclamation designating Oct. 3-9 as National 4-H Week in Missouri and encouraging Missourians to recognize 4-H’s significant role in empowering youths in the state.

National 4-H Week is celebrated across Missouri in many ways, Fabregas says. Many clubs use this time to kick off the new 4-H programming year with window displays, yard signs, radio spots and fun family activities such as scavenger hunts and scarecrow contests. Some clubs use this time for service-learning projects, like thanking first responders or veterans for their service. This is also a popular time for awards and recognition nights when youths are celebrated for completing projects.

The Wednesday of National 4-H Week is always 4-H Spirit Day. Many 4-H’ers use this day to recruit new members.

“I plan to wear a 4-H shirt on Wednesday of National 4-H Week, so when my friends ask about 4-H, I can tell them about what I have done in the program,” says Mallory Hall of the Royal Clover 4-H Club of Johnson County. “I hope to get some of my friends involved in my 4-H club.”

Aaron Baker, leader of the Home Pioneer 4-H Club of Macon County, says club members will be wearing their 4-H T-shirts and sharing their love of 4-H on social media. There will also be a petting zoo, where members will bring their animals and promote various 4-H projects.

One of the most anticipated events of National 4-H Week is the 4-H STEM Challenge. Hundreds of thousands of 4-H youths across the nation are expected to take part in this year’s challenge, “Galactic Quest.” Developed at Clemson University, “Galactic Quest” explores the history of humans in space, the technology and resources needed for missions, and the obstacles humans encounter in orbit. Activities explore STEM topics ranging from physics and engineering to computer science and space agriculture.

To learn more about how to get involved, visit 4h.missouri.edu (opens in new window).

About Missouri 4-H

More than 55,000 members strong, Missouri 4-H is an active, dynamic organization of young people who are learning, growing and preparing to be the leaders of today and tomorrow – making a real difference in their community, country and world. 4-H is the youth development program of the University of Missouri and the nation’s Cooperative Extension System. For more information, visit 4h.missouri.edu (opens in new window).

About 4-H

The nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, 4-H cultivates confident kids who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities right now. In the United States, 4-H programs empower 6 million young people through the 110 land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System in more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the U.S., independent, country-led 4-H organizations empower 1 million young people in more than 50 countries. National 4-H Council is the private sector, nonprofit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Learn more at www.4-H.org(opens in new window), on Facebook at facebook.com/4-H (opens in new window) and on Twitter at twitter.com/4H (opens in new window).