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Locke Declares Year of 4-H, Receives Pledges for 2.6 Million Hours Volunteer Service

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Gary Locke today declared 2002 the Year of 4-H and received pledges from 4-H members who promise to contribute 2.6 million hours of volunteer service this year in their communities.

In ceremonies at a 4-H Know Your Government Conference breakfast here today, Greg Bland, 16, Renton, and Veronica Loza, 17, Wapato, presented Gov. Locke sacks of pledge cards from 4-H members throughout the state.

Gov. Locke said, “If we want to make a difference, we need to start in our neighborhoods and communities… With your help we can make America stronger, one neighborhood at a time.”

Locke urged 4-H members to devote some of their pledged time to helping others in their schools improve their reading. He also encouraged them to consider a career in the military or other form of service to the country.

The ceremonies were part of 4-H’s observance of its 100th anniversary in the United States.

“4-H is the largest out-of-school-time youth development program in Washington State,” said Pat BoyEs, 4-H youth development program leader for Washington State University Cooperative Extension. “The program combines cooperative efforts of youth, volunteer leaders, WSU faculty, federal, state, and local governments, and businesses to build strong leadership in communities all across the state.”

More than 93,500 Washington youths are enrolled in 4-H programs; over 20,300 are enrolled in 1,733 clubs. Another 73,000 participate in a variety of other 4-H activities, such as school enrichment programs, day camps and overnight camping. More than 10,300 adult volunteers support 4-H.

More than 350 4-H youth are in Olympia to attend the Know Your Government program, in which students learn about state government and interact with legislators from their home districts.

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