SLEEPY EYE, Minn. (KEYC) — This week is recognized as National 4-H Week and one family in Sleepy Eye has had four generations of practice reciting the 4-H pledge and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
For more than 100 years, 4-H has been "making the best better" and encouraging youth development and the Marti and Mangen family is proud to be a part of the organization's history.
“I don’t really remember it being an option, I mean it wasn’t like it was forced or anything, but it’s like, this is what we do,” said Alisa Mangen, 4-H alumni.
The 4-H Club, Sleepy Eye Wide Awakes, has seen all four generations of the Marti family involved in 4-H, helping them leave their mark in the program.
“I think the Marti/Mangen clan has always taken it fairly seriously, not seriously difficult, but just having a really good time and doing the very best they could do,” said Marcia Marti, 4-H alumni.
Over their years of experience in the program, they’ve noticed the program change over time.
“I think it’s gotten to be more of a leadership type program, it used to be just primarily farm kids really, but now you can have just about any project you want,” said James Marti, also a 4-H alumni.
According to a study conducted by the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development and Tufts University, 4-H’ers are four times more likely to contribute to their community and two times more likely to be civically active, which is in contribution to skills attained through 4-H.
“The speaking, the presenting, those are absolute life skills that a lot of people need and not necessarily know,” said Mangen.
Mangen said those skills have helped them as alumni during their job searches.
“They know you’re going to be there and you’re going to insert yourself into whatever the project is and being able to speak with people is really what comes out of 4-H,” said Marcia Marti.
National 4-H week concludes on Saturday, Oct. 12.