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“Find Your Spark” is the theme of this year’s National 4-H Week, observed Oct. 3 to 9.

The theme celebrates the resilience of young people who have brought about significant innovations in agriculture and technology, said Lupita Fabregas, director of the University of Missouri Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development, in a press release.

“In Missouri 4-H, we offer all youth the opportunity to find their spark,” Fabregas said.

Through a variety of educational programs, 4-H members choose their own paths to success, she said.

“By providing caring adult mentors who have a passion about what they do, we are able to give youth hands-on experiences to help them on their spark.”

On Sept. 7, Gov. Mike Parson signed a proclamation designating Oct. 3 to 9 as National 4-H Week in Missouri and encouraging Missourians to recognize 4-H’s significant role in empowering youths in the state.

National 4-H Week is celebrated across Missouri in many ways, Fabregas said. Many clubs use this time to kick off the new 4-H programming year with window displays, yard signs, radio spots and fun family activities such as scavenger hunts and scarecrow contests.

Members and leaders of community clubs hail from across Clay County, including Excelsior Springs, Gladstone, Kearney, Liberty and Smithville.

Some clubs use this time for service-learning projects, like thanking first responders or veterans for their service. This is also time for awards and recognition nights when members are celebrated for completing projects.

One of the most anticipated events of National 4-H Week is the 4-H STEM Challenge. Hundreds of thousands of 4-H youths across the nation are expected to take part in this year’s challenge, “Galactic Quest.”

Developed at Clemson University, “Galactic Quest” explores the history of humans in space, the technology and resources needed for missions, and the obstacles humans encounter in orbit. Activities explore STEM topics ranging from physics and engineering to computer science and space agriculture.

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