By Meghan Reyes

On Saturday, August 28, the Hillsborough County 4-H program is holding its annual open house. 4-H is a program dedicated to extending agricultural education in rural communities.

“4-H stands for ‘Head, Heart, Hands & Health,’” Charlie Poliseno, Hillsborough County 4-H agent, said. “These tenets are further expanded upon in our 4-H Pledge: ‘I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living. For my club, my community, my country and my world.’”

4-H began as an effort by educators to provide youth opportunities to learn about nature as a foundation for agricultural education. As clubs began around 1904, 4-H became an official part of the Cooperative Extension Service in 1914. States organized clubs outside the schools with rural parents acting as volunteer leaders and County Extension agents provided materials.

“If you have youth, ages 5-18, who are interested in meeting new friends, learning new skills and having a great time while doing so, please reach out to us or attend our open house event to find a club that fits your family’s interests,” Poliseno said.

There are many ways to support the Hillsborough County 4-H program. The best way to support the program is by volunteering and membership. Adults have the opportunity to teach children involved with the program about agriculture. Many 4-H students attend a wide variety of competitions and educational events, both across the state and around the country, and they occasionally need financial support to realize these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Money donated to the 4-H program can help fund these trips.

“Our 4-H open house will be a great event for the public to get to see what our 4-H clubs do throughout the year and meet some of the amazing people who make our organization so great,” Poliseno said.

During the open house, various clubs from across the county will be in attendance to display the projects that they’ve been working on and the activities that their youth members get to participate in. Volunteer leaders will be available to answer questions about their clubs and lead some hands-on activities. 4-H staff will be on hand to answer any questions and provide information on how to get involved with Hillsborough County 4-H.

No sign-up or preregistration is necessary for the 4-H open house. Anyone interested in attending this year’s open house is free to stop by. For more information, refer to the 4-H open house flyer or contact the Hillsborough County 4-H office at 744-5519.

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