Cooking up a 4-H club

You can cook up a storm in the kitchen when you become a 4-H leader of a cooking club.

Youth can sharpen their reading, math and science skills while having a great time in a 4-H cooking club. Photo by Colleen Proppe, Flickr Creative Commons

Youth can sharpen their reading, math and science skills while having a great time in a 4-H cooking club. Photo by Colleen Proppe, Flickr Creative Commons

Remember the excitement of learning to crack an egg? Using the mixer for the first time? Watching through the oven door as the cookies are just starting to bake and waiting patiently with your glass of milk? Capture that magic with the next generation when you savor the flavors you create in the kitchen with young people in your community. Being a 4-H leader of a cooking club can be a fun, casual experience that allows you to have fun with your family.

Worried about doing it alone? Think about asking a few of your friends to lead with you; everything is better when we do it together. This could be a great way for a few families to get together over the summer and learn some new skills while having a great time. Don’t tell the children, but they will be sharpening their reading, math and science skills in the process. The recipes you enjoy preparing for your family might just be the new favorite of the children in your cooking club. Starting a cooking club is easy and fun; many youth, as well as adults, are yearning to learn how to cook and you could be the one that inspires them to try something new. It is not about fancy dishes, gourmet recipes or state-of-the-art equipment; it is all about the time, talents, fun and experience in the kitchen.

You can share your love of baking, cooking, canning, grilling or cake decorating with youth of all ages through your local 4-H program. Volunteers can work with young people in 4-H clubs that last a few weeks or all year. 4-H SPIN clubs allow volunteers to work with youth for six to eight sessions and they can focus on one or two skills they want share with youth. Those sessions can take place in your home, the local bakery, restaurant, farmer’s market or meeting site of your choice.

Adults looking for involvement for an extended period of time may choose to start a club that meets for a season, over the summer, throughout the school year or even year-round. That is one benefit to being a 4-H volunteer; opportunities vary and you can typically find opportunities that fit your busy schedule and still allow you to make a difference right where you live.

What does this mean for you? You can work with young people in your neighborhood, school or community center. You can meet with your local 4-H program coordinator to discuss what age of children you are most comfortable with, what skills you want to share and when you have time to volunteer. Get started today by contacting your Michigan State University Extension county office

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