Thursday, September 17, 2009

4-H Zooms into National 4-H Week

National 4-H Week will take off with a speedy start on October 4th, as the 4-H emblem makes its debut appearance in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The well-known national icon will be featured on the 'TV panel' of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet driven by Jeff Gordon at Kansas Speedway that day. The placement of the 4-H clover on the No. 24 Chevrolet was made possible through a generous donation by DuPont, sponsor of both the No. 24 team and of 4-H.
National 4-H Week is an annual celebration for the 100-year old youth development organization. The highlight of the week includes the highly anticipated, 4-H National Youth Science Day, which brings together millions of youth to participate in the National Science Experiment. This year's experiment, Biofuel Blast, will introduce youth to alternative energy. DuPont is a premier sponsor of 4-H National Youth Science Day and the Biofuel Blast National Science Experiment.

"The appearance of the 4-H emblem on Jeff Gordon's car in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is a wonderful salute to 4-H by DuPont, and an amazing way for us to begin National 4-H Week," said Donald T. Floyd, Jr., president and CEO of National 4-H Council. "Now, millions of current 4-H'ers, 4-H alumni and racing fans alike can watch with excitement as the clover takes to the track for the first time."

The Kansas event is the third in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and the 1.5-mile track is the site of two of Gordon's 82 career victories in NASCAR's premier division.

"4-H has been a leader among youth development organizations, enriching the lives of millions of young people for more than100 years," said Gordon. "It is an honor to have such an iconic emblem featured on the DuPont Chevrolet and to provide such an exciting way to help the nation kick-off National 4-H Week."

4-H National Youth Science Day was created to spark an early youth interest in science education and to combat a national shortage of young people pursuing science in college and future careers. Participants in this year's National Science Experiment will learn how cellulose and sugars in plants - such as corn, switchgrass, sorghum and algae - can be converted into fuel, and how alternative energies can be used in their own communities. Youth will create their own biofuel through Biofuel Blast, lead discussions about what they've learned, and see how their small creations are a part of a larger, global discussion.

"Research into biofuels and bio-based materials is an important area for our company, and we are proud to sponsor 4-H in their extraordinary effort to help young people understand one of the most important issues facing our nation today," said James C. Borel, group vice president, DuPont Agriculture.

Currently, more than five million youth across the nation take part in 4-H science, engineering and technology (SET) year-long programming that introduce youth to new areas of interest and help them explore environmental and scientific issues. 4-H SET programming span from robotics, rocketry, and computer science, to agricultural science, GPS mapping and renewable energy.

According to a longitudinal study by Tufts University, youth who participate in 4-H programs are more likely to get better grades in school, to seek out science classes, to see themselves going to college, and to contribute positively in their communities. In addition, 4-H youth have been shown to better resist peer pressure and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.

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