The 4-H Club launched a campaign Sunday to broaden its image away from the barnyard and kitchen and to encourage youths to become more involved in volunteer work.
"Our campaign is like that old car commercial: 'It's not your father's Oldsmobile anymore,' " said Richard Sauer, president of National 4-H Council. "In many ways, our kids are more diverse than people realize. We're hoping this campaign will reflect the diversity while helping to broaden our image and attract new faces."
Sauer noted that 26 percent of 4-H youth are minorities, and 52 percent of its members live in towns and cities with populations of 10,000 to 50,000 and over.
Organizers said that during the "Are You Into It?" campaign, thousands of youths nationwide will do community service projects, such as raising money for children without health insurance, painting murals over gang graffiti and collecting pop can tabs for Ronald McDonald House.
They said they hope to involve 300,000 additional youngsters in community service by 2000.
4-H was founded in the early 1900s to provide better agricultural education for young people. Today, 5.4 million youths work with more than 500,000 adult volunteers in programs such as AIDS education, crime prevention and training for economic success.