As August approaches, many parents begin considering what enrichment programs they might point their children toward for the coming school year. For hundreds of families in Brown County, one of the most diverse opportunities is offered through the 4-H organization.

In a rural area, that probably seems logical for most residents. The 4-H organization has long been associated with farm life. Most of us know it as a group that helps youngsters in rural communities learn about raising livestock, growing plants and making useful products from them.

4-H has done that for decades, and it continues to do so. But it also does a lot more. It also has programs designed for youngsters who are anything but rural.

Through the years, 4-H has quietly moved into the cities and suburbs as well, offering programming in a wide variety of topics. If a topic doesn’t exist, young people are able to propose a field of study and pursue that.

Many of these subjects provide an entry point for youngster who wind up learning skills — be they cooking or sewing or gardening or crafts or computing — that they will find themselves enjoying for the rest of their lives.

Brown County 4-H clubs are wrapping up another successful year with the annual awards banquet on Tuesday, Aug. 7. The deadline to reserve a seat at the event is Friday at the Brown County Extension office. This comes at a time of year when 4-H Club members throughout the state and nation are participating in major events where they showcase their skills and put themselves in position to earn college scholarships.

If you think that all young people do these days is use the cell phone and play video games, visiting one of these competitions or, more conveniently, attending the awards banquet will be some time well spent.

Too often, families and young people overlook the 4-H program when after school options are considered, but that’s a shame. The 4-H program — leaders and young people — deserves the attention of all of us, as well as our applause.

Brownwood Bulletin