How a 4-H Project is created, Part I:
Between virtual learning, physical distancing, and social isolation, and with no clear path to relief in sight, not only did we know we had to do something to continue to support our youth and families through this unique time in our history, but our (4-H) history said we could and would! So, in that spirit we gathered a group of Cooperative Extension staff, volunteers and interested community partners, and formed a weekly project called 'Move It! Monday'. Since September of 2020, the Prince William County Fairgrounds has generously allowed us to meet for "physically distanced yet socially active fun and fitness". Our county youth and their entire families were encouraged to come out and run, walk, bicycle, roller skate, hop, skip, bounce and just "move it!" with us. For four of the weeks our colleagues within USDA SNAP-ED shared tips and encouragement in the ways of healthy living and eating, with their ‘Move Smart, Move More’ program. And, most importantly, with guidance, encouragement and mentorship from 4-H staff and volunteers, our youth did what research already told us they would do under those circumstances...they began to do their own research and lead their peers (and adults!) in stretching and conditioning exercises, they spoke out and supported each other by making goals, and they found that physical activity made them feel better about themselves, emotionally and physically, and that they are resilient and can thrive.
How a 4-H Project is created, Part II:
I think we can all agree that growing up in a military family is not always the easiest, but doing it during a pandemic must be even harder. Imagine always having to make new friends every couple of years. Now imagine having to make new friends and not being able to go to school or into your new neighbor's house to play! Well, that is just what happened to one (new) 4-H family in our county in 2020. But, like all military families we know, they were resilient. Their history with 4-H already told them they just needed to reach out to their county Cooperative Extension office for their whole family to benefit and form positive and healthy connections in their new community. They came to their first 'Move It! Monday!' in January of 2021 and, again, like so many military families we've had the pleasure to know and see grow through the years, they immediately jumped right in. Their daughter wanted to join track and cross-country running; We wanted to keep 'Move It! Monday' going but needed a new focus; cue motivated adult volunteers who want to help their children grow, are willing to learn and share their knowledge with other youth and families, and a project is born!
We still meet every Monday at the fairgrounds, but with a new focus of running the First Annual PWC 4-H 5k. Through research-based practices we run, walk, condition, and support each other in reaching our goals of finishing the first annual PWC 4-H 5k as well as many mini-goals that continue to strengthen and support our Head, Heart, Hands and Health. Won't you join us, please?
ABOUT THE RACE: This is a cross-country style course with low to moderate elevation increases. The terrain alternates between gravel, packed dirt, grass and blacktop. It is not "chipped" but there will be time recorders. Prizes for first, second and third place for both adults and youth. Participants will run the course twice for a complete 5k. For course route and description, see "View Course Map" below, under "MapMyRun Map". The one mile fun-run will be on blacktop in "The Midway".
More information about our program and where your support will go:
In Virginia, 4‑H is delivered by Virginia Cooperative Extension as a member of a community of more than 100 public universities across the nation that provide experiences where young people learn by doing. For more than 100 years, 4‑H has welcomed young people of all beliefs and backgrounds, giving kids a voice to express who they are and how they make their lives and communities better.
Prince William County 4-H is a volunteer-led 501(c)3 non-profit organization supporting positive youth development with an emphasis on leadership, and life skills. In PWC 4-H, our goal is to help young people grow into capable, responsible, confident members of our community by providing information, opportunities, activities, and events which are educational, developmental, and fun.
Prince William County 4-H has over 600 members in clubs and camping programs and over 14,000 members in 4-H special interest programs and hundreds of volunteers, who have given more than 19,000 hours of their time, endless talents, energies, and resources to the youth of the community.
Prince William 4-H youth serve in leadership roles at day camps, overnight camps, specialty camps, and as club officers. Youth compete in areas of presentations, musical and dramatic talent, shooting sports, garment construction, textiles and consumerism, food preparation and nutrition, and horse knowledge and riding, at local, district, state, regional and national competitions.
Fundraising efforts support local 4-H youth through camp scholarships, funding for state and national leadership events and competitions and scholarships for continuing educational endeavors.
Contact us here https://www.pwcgov.org/government/dept/vce/Pages/4-H-Youth-Program.aspx at Prince William County 4-H, OR click here https://4-h.org/find/ to find your local Cooperative Extension and 4-H office, worldwide.
Thank you for your support to "Make the best better"! We look forward to seeing you in-person or "seeing" you virtually!