Our community offers many great year-round youth programs that offer educational and fun opportunities for children of all ages. Two organizations that I particularly enjoy supporting are 4-H and the Boy Scouts of America.
My wife and I have always tried to use our children's summer break from school as a time to teach them in interesting and enjoyable ways. For instance, I recently returned from a scuba diving trip in the Florida Keys with my youngest son and members of his Venture Crew Scout Troop. The hard work that it took the first two days of our trip in learning all the safety measures of diving was well rewarded. They all learned about the importance of diving with other people and team work, and also about the fascinating world that lives at the bottom of the ocean.
The Boy Scouts are a highly regarded national organization. The values they teach such as building character, citizenship and personal fitness are good qualities for any person to learn. I'm glad that my son and I have had a chance to participate in many of their programs.
4-H is another example of an excellent youth organization that teaches leadership, citizenship, communication and decision-making; skills that can be used over a lifetime. The name 4-H is not simply a number and letter, but it is directly tied to their motto and mission which are to "learn by doing" and "to make the best better."
The 4H's stand for:
Head: A focus on understanding and learning.
Heart: Being concerned with the welfare of others, citizenship and working with others.
Hands: Learning skills by doing, developing pride and respect for work.
Health: The practice of healthy living, protecting the well-being of oneself and others and making constructive use of time.
The 4-H fairs in District 63 are starting this weekend, and if they offer programs you are interested in participating in this would an ideal time to check them out. The first fair is Martin County's, July 8-12, and the following are Daviess County's, July 16-22, Dubois County's, July 17-24, and Pike County's, July 25-30. The county fairs offer a wide range of activities from fishing and tug-of-war contests to pig wrestling and tractor pulls.
4-H is largest youth organization in the nation and teaches youth in hands-on ways about farming and agriculture. Indiana's 4-H programs are supported by Purdue University who also offers many services to develop Indiana's agricultural industry.
My children and many of their friends have learned a lot through programs such as 4-H and the Boy Scouts. I hope that the values and traditions created by these great American institutions are passed on to many generations to come.
Rep. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper)