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  • Writer's pictureBruce Mattare

4H, Young People and Our Community

Few people realize that I grew up a couple miles from the former National 4H Headquarters on Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase. It was a beautiful campus and the organization serves an important role in helping to shape the lives of young people.

Sadly, the truth is often the first casualty during election season. Lately there's been a nasty rumor going around that I will eliminate 4H from the county. NOT TRUE.

I Am A Huge Advocate for Programs That Expose

Young People to How Our World Works

Despite growing up in the city, I spent a fair amount of time on farms. I learned a lot about horses, cows and other animals. My father was a veterinarian, which gave me even more exposure to animals and what's involved in taking care of them, including assisting in surgeries.

Few kids growing up in the city get this kind of exposure. It gave me perspective that my friends did not have, and I always valued it.

That's why I think programs like 4H -- among others for kids -- are so important. Too often parents focus on school and learning from books, instead of exposing our young people to how our world works. 4H is one of those important programs for young people.

We need programs like this even more, given the pervasive use of electronics and the erosion of people skills in our young people. We also need more programs to help intervene in young people's lives before the wrath of drugs and despair has a chance to take hold.

Unlike in past decades, the drugs today are especially addictive and lethal. Someone told me that Rathdrum has the 2nd highest suicide rate among young people per capita in the nation. I was stunned, but for many of these young victims drugs played a role. It saps the life out of people and creates despair during the best and most formative years of their lives.

We must do everything we can to not only protect our young people from these dangerous elements, but also find ways to expose them to things like where our food comes from, activities that build confidence and furthering people skills. 4H plays a role in all of those activities and, because of that, I support it and other groups like it.

Our future and community depends upon it.

Because election day is almost upon us, crazy rumors will begin to surface about me. My stances on issues are published on my website, but if there's a question you or a friend has, send me an email. I'm happy to answer it.

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