Hands on trades and hard work seem to be going out of style. Although blacksmithing is both of these, it has grown in popularity over the past few years. As a blacksmith, it is my desire to pass the love of this trade on to a younger generation. Out of this desire was birthed “Forged in 4-H”. This program is designed to teach metallurgy and blacksmithing skills, as well as provide school enrichment through demonstrations, in a safe manner with the use of chemistry, geometry, physics, math, and hands on projects.
The equipment is housed in Union County which is the principal teaching location. The equipment is mobile so that it can be moved to any county in the state to conduct short term projects, demonstrations, day camps, and school enrichment. This program and equipment is being used to teach 4-H youth of all ages, as well as homeschool groups.
The use of hands-on learning techniques will allow students to experience and learn the trade of blacksmithing. This program is “cutting edge” for several reasons. First, we are leading the way in offering this in 4-H. Only a few counties in the nation offer a 4-H program similar to this one. This may be due to lack of agents and volunteers who do not have the knowledge or funding. The interest in just my county has been overwhelming. Second, blacksmithing is an ancient art, but we are teaching it in a new, modern and exciting way. We will be teaching the life skills of blacksmithing to the younger generation, instilling an appreciation for an ancient art form, and preserving skills that we do not need to lose as a society. Third, we are providing hands-on knowledge and skills in a field that may become a career for some 4-H’ers. Forging, welding, metal working, and fabricating are not going away any time soon. As a youth development agent it is my job to help young people choose a life path. If I can help these 4-H’ers become productive citizens, then I have done my job.
This program will impact the citizens of South Carolina by teaching an old trade and art form in a modern way to our younger generation. As a 4-H agent and team player I will provide this equipment, along with my knowledge and help, to any county in South Carolina for trainings, workshops, or day camps as requested. In a world filled with technology, all too often we do not teach youth how to make something real and tangible. With young people spending an exorbitant amount of time on computers and cell phones, real world skills fall to the wayside. Putting simple math and geometry skills to work, seeing chemistry and physics in action, and developing simple hand-eye coordination can easily be overlooked. Blacksmithing puts all these skills and knowledge together in a fun and interesting way. Keeping participants engaged and wanting to learn more has not been a problem
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