Virginia 4-H will celebrate National 4-H Week, Sunday through Saturday, Oct. 3 to 9. This year, the celebration will emphasize 4-H's high tech connectedness on the theme of "4-H Online."

"Virginia 4-H has a strong foundation in helping the Commonwealth's youth learn about online work," said Robert Ray Meadows, director of the 4-H youth development program.

For example, a few months ago the Wildfire 4-H Club, Annandale, won a national third place in the 4-H division of Colgate-Palmolive's program to honor community service projects. The Annandale group was cited for creating a video aimed at keeping youngsters safe while online.

"Virginia 4-H has had an outstanding science and technology program for many years," Meadows said.

Other examples of programs from the past include a 4-H group in Virginia Beach working with the Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation staff and the NAACP Youth Council. 4-H teens used computers to help elementary school youngsters learn to read. Virginia 4-H had a Tech Corp that in 2000 did projects such as training teens to help seniors locate their Medicare resources online. It was part of a pilot project for the Health Care Finance Administration and Medicare. The group also worked with a Virginia and New York City high school and wrote an Online Murder Mystery.

These club members not only were using the technology but also were aware of the concerns and making efforts to help others.

"These 4-H members are realizing their full potential and preparing themselves for the future," Meadows said. "These life skills learned through 4-H will help them transition to becoming adults."

4-H, the youth development program of Virginia Cooperative Extension, provides educational events for youth between the ages of 5 and 19. It assists youth, and those adults working with them, in acquiring the knowledge, life skills, and attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, contributing, and productive members of society. The central style of 4-H education is "learn by doing."

Virginia 4-H has more than 191,000 members in almost all cities and counties in the state. About 16,000 volunteers, both teens and adults, help the youngsters by leading the clubs. Youth belong to 4-H in community clubs, in their schools in school enrichment programs, and in special interest groups. 4-H is well known for its camping programs and Virginia has six all year-round 4-H Educational Centers located throughout the Commonwealth.

4-H programs are a partnership involving local residents, volunteers, private support, local, state, and federal levels of government, and universities. Contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office for more information on local programs and activities.

Contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office to learn about local activities to celebrate 4-H Week.