“I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty and my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world.

By Janette Halliday Correspondent

It's the 4-H Pledge that has been the foundation of an organization that promotes responsibility, community service and learning for youth which celebrates its 100th birthday this week.

The 4 in 4-H represents the different branches of the four-leaf clover - head, heart, hands and health.

This year, from Oct. 7-13, is National 4-H Week and the recognition of the Texas 4-H Centennial Celebration.

The Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program, which began Sept. 1, 1907, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. In September of 1907, a man named Tom Marks met in Jacksboro with 12 young men for the purpose of forming a Corn Club. The purpose of the group was to teach young people new practices for raising corn that those young mens' fathers would not adopt. This was officially the first 4-H meeting in Texas.

It's from that humble beginning that the Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program, which boasts over 640,000 members in all 254 Texas Counties was formed. According to the Erath County Extension office, these youth are constantly involved in learning life skills, leadership, volunteer service, self confidence, and commitment to country, all of which have a positive impact on their lives, their future, and the future of our state.

“In Texas, as everywhere, our youth are our future. How we strive to develop and encourage hard work and dedication in our youth will help determine the types of leaders and citizens they will be, not only for Texas, but for the nation and the world, said Chris Sulwalski, secretary for the Erath County Texas Cooperative Extension service. “The Texas 4-H Centennial Celebration is being held to honor 4-H's past and celebrate its future. We are using this special anniversary to promote an awareness of the program and its positive influence on Texas youth.

According to Donna White, Erath County Extension Agent for Family & Consumer Sciences, 𔄜-H is an excellent youth organization that is known for building leaders of tomorrow. I would encourage parents to get involved with their children in the 4-H program here. 4-H has many projects available to interest practically anyone. However, one of the most important life lessons youth can learn from 4-H is the gift of giving back to the community. Our program emphasizes community service.

Erath county youth are offered a wide variety of opportunity to be involved in 4-H. 4-H Project clubs are those clubs that focus on a specific area of project interest. In Erath County youth can participate in the Lamb & Goat, Shooting Sports, Horse Club, and Dairy Club. There are community clubs that have programs encompassing the whole 4-H program and varied subjects and include clubs in Dublin, Huckabay, Lingleville, Morgan Mill, and Stephenville.

To commemorate the 100 years of 4-H, the Morgan Mill Club will collect nonperishable foods items in their � Cans for 100 Years, at the Morgan Mill Store with the proceeds going to needy families in the area.

The annual Erath County 4-H Awards Banquet will be held at 6 p.m. at the Morgan Mill Community Center. The Erath County Extension Office will provide 4-H helium-filled balloons to anyone in the county who would like to proudly display them at their household or place of business during the celebration of the Texas 4-H Centennial Celebration.

For more information, call the Erath County Extension office at 254-965-1460.