By Katie Witkowski

hc1 Communities is dedicated to building relationships and giving back to our communities. Here is one of our volunteer stories:

4-H is the nation's largest youth development organization. More than 6 million 4-H youth in urban neighborhoods, suburban schoolyards, and rural farming communities stand out from their peers: building revolutionary opportunities and implementing community-wide change at an early age. Each year, 4-H members all over the state showcase their skills and talents by entering their projects for competition at their local 4-H County Fair. 4-H projects range from computer programming, electricity, social media, child care, and technology to livestock, sewing, public speaking, and cooking. There are just a small sample of the areas the participants can choose for their projects. The projects are judged at the local fair and the winning entries are then submitted as delegates for the county at the State Fair held in Springfield, IL.

This year I had the honor of volunteering my time to participate in judging the computer projects at the Woodford County 4-H Fair. The projects I judged this this year ranged from Java programming to basic computer maintenance and repair. Each 4-H member spent a great deal of time explaining and demonstrating their projects. The participants ranged in age from 10-17 years old. It was a great experience to see the next generation step up and expand their knowledge in computer technology and start their journey towards career-oriented skills. One of the participants I judged wrote a Quiz Creator which allows the user to put together random questions and answers in a text file, and then the program will read and present the questions. The goal of the participants is to develop and hone their Java skills further so they can write programs and interfaces for Agri-businesses.

I have been acquainted with the 4-H organization for many years, but my involvement increased when my daughter joined. I believe that 4-H is a great organization that gives those participating some real-world skills. All 4-H members are trained in parliamentary procedure, public speaking, and participate in community involvement and development. Our local 4-H club coordinates book drives for local libraries, community clean up days, entertainment for senior citizens at a variety of retirement centers, and countless hours of Tornado recovery relief in the surrounding areas. The 4-H slogan is "Learn by Doing," and their motto is to "Make the Best Better." This experience volunteering at the Woodford County 4-H Fair gave me hope that the next generation of leaders will be do-ers with a strong sense of commitment that was developed through their involvement in 4-H.

woodford county

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