Around six million people across America, including 400 4-H members and 47 adult volunteers in Mingo County, are celebrating National 4-H Week. Mingo kicked off the week Oct. 4 at the courthouse with an election of officers and will end it Oct. 10 with a service prioject in downtown Matewan, led by adult volunteer Missy Mounts. "With the involvement of community leaders and charitable organizations, we are able to reach students in almost every community in our county," said Mark Whitt, 4-H agent. "We plan a wide variety of activities throughout the year to reach all students. From cake decorating to building bottle rockets, Mingo County kids actively work within their communities and schools to make our lives better. The changes witnessed in these students show our future is bright in Mingo County." To commemorate the week long activities, the iconic clover symbol was placed on another highly recognized and iconic symbol itself: Jeff Gordon's No. 24 stock car. It is an honor to have such an emblem featured on the DuPont Chevrolet and to provide such an exciting way to help the nation kick-off National 4-H Week, said Gordon. The youth organization's roots began over 100 years ago in 1902 in Clark County, Ohio with the advent of after-school agricultural programs, sometimes called "The Tomato Club" or "The Corn Growing Club". The group continued to progress until becoming a national group in 1914. Its practice of educating youth by hands-on activities has been practiced since the group's beginning. Today, the club now boasts over 90,000 clubs nationally. West Virginia's place in 4-H's history became cemented when the first camp was held in Randolph County, originally called "Corn Clubs". Today, the club now boasts over 90,000 clubs nationally. 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. Mingo County 4-H has made my daughter and I feel like family, said Mingo County 4-H first year member and volunteer Kim Kennedy. For more information on how to become a 4-H member or volunteer leader in Mingo County, contact Mark Whitt, Assistant Professor, at West Virginia University Cooperative Extension, Mingo County at 304-235-0370 or mark.whitt@ mail.wvu.edu.