Kick off event held to recruit new 4-H Club members

4-H Club members set up tables and information posters as they prepare for their Kick-off event Saturday at the Imperial Valley Mall.

EL CENTRO – The 4-H Club of Imperial County put on an outreach event Saturday at the Imperial Valley Mall in hopes of gaining new members. The event was organized by current 4-H clubbers to inform the community about the programs offered by the local 4-H Clubs.

There are approximately six million 4-H members according to the official website for the organization, and their pledge explains why they call themselves 4-H: “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.”

Rose Fiorenza, a 17-year-old senior, said she has known and followed this pledge since she was six years old. This is her eleventh year showing rabbits for 4-H events, and Fiorenza is considered All Star status as she serves as one of the ambassadors to represent the 4-H Club of Imperial County. Her duties include attending conventions and meetings to learn how to plan, implement, and develop programs for 4-H.

“We want to show all the aspects of 4-H,” said Fiorenza.

According to the website, the 4-H program follows a “learn by doing” approach, which has helped youths in many aspects of life. For example, their research shows youths in 4-H are 25 percent more likely to contribute to their families and communities in a positive way.

“It’s really fun and teaches a lot of responsibility. I think it’s very important to learn how to be responsible,” said Fiorenza.

Shanna Abatti, the 4-H program representative, has been with the 4-H Club of Imperial County for four years. Every year, she and other 4-H youths conduct the 4-H Kick Off event. In previous years, 30-50 new members join 4-H because of this event.

“We brought in different youths from different programs to showcase that there’s something for everyone,” said Abatti.

Saturday’s Kick Off event showcased programs for woodworking, healthy living, robotics, working with animals, and several more. The event even had a healthy living component in which they made free smoothies for attendees.

Abatti and Fiorenza both said they hope the Kick Off sparks interest and inspires more youths to become members. And they both said they value the important lessons 4-H teaches and hope others will realize it as well.