Young people are resilient. However, there are moments that we all face that can sometimes turn our world upside down. This was the case for Ben, who was faced with uncertain circumstances when his father was deployed to Iraq—a challenge many military families face. Thankfully, 4‑H offered Ben and his family the support they needed during a difficult time.
“4‑H filled the gap in my life by providing me community, confidence and connection,” Ben explained. “And for that I’m eternally thankful to be a military kid and a 4‑H’er.”
4‑H offers much-needed support to military-connected youth, giving them opportunities to discover their spark, build confidence and curiosity, and most importantly, foster a sense of belonging and consistency during uncertain times.
We’ve seen that life-changing impact through the personal stories of our youth leaders:
Sophia, who launched a program to help military kids cope with the effects of deployment.
Amelia, who joined forces with her local 4‑H club to provide care packages to veterans.
Tay, who found comfort and connections when joining 4‑H after his dad served two terms in Iraq.
For the entire family, resiliency is a core component of the 4‑H experience, as military families navigate the difficulties surrounding deployment and reintegration, frequent relocations, and other challenges related to military life. The peace of mind that comes with knowing your children are engaged in high quality programs with caring adult mentors further supports military mission readiness for our service members who put their lives on the line for us every single day.
The support 4‑H provides is made possible through the 4‑H Military Partnership, a collaboration of military and land grant university partners working together for military-connected youth, families, and communities in the U.S. and abroad to thrive. In FY19 alone, more than 63,000 military-connected youth participated in 4‑H opportunities and over 2,400 military Child and Youth professionals increased their capacity to empower youth with the skills to lead for a lifetime through 4‑H positive youth development training.
“Whether it’s how to make someone feel welcome, or it’s public speaking, leadership, communication skills, or developing life-long friendships, 4‑H provides so many pathways for youth to learn, grow and work towards a brighter future,” Ben shares. “4‑H is an amazing organization; it’s more than just a club, it’s truly a home! I was lucky it was there for me as a military kid, as a nervous middle schooler, and today.”