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Oswego County Youth Takes Unique Approach to Leadership

CENTRAL SQUARE, NY – It’s no secret that today’s youth feel pressure. Pressure to excel in school, go to college, get a job, etc. How they overcome those pressures is a true testament to their character.

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Eric Davis

Take Central Square native Eric Davis for example.

Eric, 16, credits his enrollment in 4-H, the nation’s largest youth organization, to helping him overcome adversity and build confidence along the way.

The life skills taught through 4-H helped Eric learn to work with others, overcome challenges and complete jobs once he started them.

Eric took advantage of the breadth of programs 4-H offers, from science and agriculture to business and creative arts. He has been particularly active in his robotics club.

“I originally heard about 4-H through another camp I was attending,” said Eric, a five-year 4-H member. “4-H was a better fit for me than other organizations I’d tried because of the friendly atmosphere, the way everyone works together and the focus on the community.”

Eric credits his 4-H experience with shaping his college and life ambitions – to study engineering and build robots for use in outer space.

These global aspirations, built in part through 4-H, help set Eric apart from other youth.

America needs more true leaders focused on today’s challenges, as well as the issues of tomorrow.

A recent survey by National 4-H Council found that 71 percent of today’s youth view leadership as something they can practice and improve over time.

But those same youth need supportive adults to help them along the way.

4-H brings a community together to grow true leaders – helping build confidence, teamwork, curiosity and resilience.

Since his involvement with 4-H, Eric has been encouraged by the club’s adult volunteer leaders to participate in not just robotics, but also marksmanship and public speaking.

“The leaders have been very helpful, encouraging me when I was uncomfortable about trying new things,” he said.

Any child can grow with 4-H, an organization that has something for every interest.

But, 4-H is always looking for adult volunteers and funding to help expand their reach and empower young people through doing.

To find out more about helping 4-H in your area, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension or visit 4H.org