Collegiate 4-H club no longer just focusing on farming

Head, heart, hands and health are the core values of Norse Collegiate 4-H according to the organization’s website.

Norse Collegiate 4-H recruits members and socializes, according to BJ Narwold, the club’s founder and president and a senior majoring in organizational leadership.

4-H on the collegiate level consists of community volunteers that take on projects, such as mentoring children at day camps during the summer.

Traditional 4-H, grades 3-12, tries to promote after school activities, healthy lifestyle, and home economics such as “knitting, needlepoint, cooking, canning and woodworking,” Narwold said.

“4-H started in 1902 as a way to teach farmers new agriculture,” Narwold said. “It sought to overcome the obstacles of going to a university and farming. The older generation would not accept new farming implements so 4-H wanted to open up modern techniques to a new generation.”

Today, 4-H isn’t limited to agriculture. It is the nation’s largest organization that teaches youth outside of the classroom, according to its website.

Collegiate 4-H is centered on community service and helping the younger generation with crafts or core curriculum.

Every state runs their 4-H programs differently. Some members of Norse Collegiate 4-H came from Kentucky, while others are from Indiana.

Narwold has been involved in Indiana 4-H most of her school career, as has Ashley Vestal, junior criminal justice major and Norse Collegiate 4-H vice president.

Vestal, also Narwold’s current roommate, has been involved with 4-H for 10 years and she said it helped her self-esteem, confidence, foundations and friendships.

“I’ve never been a shy person, but 4-H makes you come out of your shell,” Vestal said. She also helped start the club.

“Things you wouldn’t think of are involved and it’s exhilarating and exciting, and you’re racking your brain: How can I make this better? There is still a difference in the way states choose to run the clubs,” Vestal said.

Kentucky 4-H works directly with the schools and it holds afterschool programs, whereas Indiana holds meetings mainly at night. Kentucky tries to recruit from schools.

All 4-H groups have job opportunities and new activities.

Vestal’s involvement with 4-H hasn’t involved internships but she won between 15 and 20 trophies and six banners at the county fair in Indiana for her herd of goats in several past competitions.

Vestal stated, “I never thought about 4-H beyond the tenth year until BJ brought it up.”

You can find out more by joining Norse Collegiate 4-H Club on orgsync. Prior experience with 4-H is not a requirement.

Narwold said starting a new organization entails a lot of work, volunteer forms, and “jumping through hoops.” She added, “recruiting people is easier than papers.”

Finding an advisor was also a difficult task for Narwold because it took finding the right connections. Narwold called the Campbell County Cooperative Extension Office in Highland Heights and found professors “preferably with connection to 4-H.”