In 4‑H we serve young people from all walks of life. Many credit their 4‑H experience with helping them learn to be themselves and allowing them to shine—no matter their background, race, beliefs, lifestyles, circumstances, or upbringing.
I am proud to affirm the thousands of LGBTQ+ 4‑H youth and alumni who live their truth. You are strong and courageous. You conduct your lives with purpose and generosity. You are an inspiration to us all. Moreover, you belong to the national 4‑H movement of 6 million youth and 25 million alumni who are positive change-makers in their communities.
All across the nation, State and local Cooperative Extension’s 4‑H programs are developing advisory committees and resources to ensure 4‑H provides equal opportunities to all youth. In 2018, the Ohio 4‑H Teen Leadership Council brought together 4‑H leaders and young people from 16 states for a first-of-its-kind event: the Ohio 4‑H LGBTQ+ Summit. They shared resources and discussed the importance of providing a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth.
Youth voices help guide 4‑H at the national, state and county levels. In this video, 4‑H’ers share what equity and inclusion means to them. You’ll hear words like welcoming, love, support, community, individuality, and respect. Those are values that we all can connect with.
As we celebrate Pride Month, my heartfelt message to LGBTQ+ 4‑H youth and alumni: Be proud of who you are. You are an inspiration to us all.