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4H offers more than just fair exhibits



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September 26, 2012 - "Four-H is not cows and chickens anymore," said Program Coordinator Sue Stapleton.

Instead, 4H offers youngsters from 5-19 years of age a chance to get involved in 50 clubs ranging from robotics to basket weaving. According to Stapleton, now is a great time for kids to get involved.

From candle making to dog training to photography and fashion design, there is a 4H club to suit any child's passion.

"These kids love learning about their interest and that love of learning extends to the rest of their lives," Stapleton said.

4H clubs meet all across Michigan and Oakland County. Clarkston 4Hers Bridget and Rose Chiodo and Emily Kelly encourage other kids to give it a try.

"I recommend anyone should do it," said 18-year-old Bridget Chiodo.

The Chiodo sisters are involved in 4H's North Oakland Animal Husbandry (N.O.A.H) program and Canine All-Stars club. According to Bridget, 4H isn't only fun because of its variety of clubs, but also because "you make great friendships."

Besides the relationships kids develop while participating in 4H, Kelly said getting involved "prepares you for the real world and teaches you leadership."

Julie Chiodo says 4H is great for kids who want to participate in activities outside of school, and children who are homeschooled enjoy it too.

"I really like it," said 10-year-old Rose Chiodo.

Bridgitte Todd, who has been volunteering for 4H for 14 years, enjoys "watching kids grow up and seeing their kids get involved in 4H," she said.

Todd likes the hands-on learning experiences it offers her children who cleaned the bones of an animal and reassembled them into a skeleton for 4H. Todd notes that her children have gained public speaking skills and developed confidence too.

Besides developing abilities they can use in their everyday lives, Stapleton points out kids in 4H "can qualify for a number of scholarships through Michigan State University."

From drama, drawing, and painting to aviation and entrepreneurship clubs, 4H's diverse offerings can be found on www.4-H.org.

Clarkston News reporter
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