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A MOTHER on Wednesday lauded the officers and members of the 4-H Marianas Youth State Council for its summer youth program’s positive impact on her children.

In her remarks during the proclamation signing for the National 4-H Week at the Kagman Community Center, Natasha Nogis Tomokane said three of her four children — Felix, PJ and Peige — have been participating in the 4-H Camp Magalahi Youth Summer Program since 2016.

She said she didn’t realize the program would have such a significant impact on her children’s individual growth emotionally, physically and mentally.

She said after her kids joined the 4-H Camp Magalahi program in the summer of 2016, “I could see the immediate positive changes in their behavior:

"Felix who was an introvert started opening up and talking to new people; PJ who showed no signs of interest in sports is now the soccer league’s most valuable goalie; and Peige who always had a fear of public speaking read the National 4-H Week proclamation on Wednesday.

"What I want to convey to you today is that so often these types of youth programs are perceived as inconsequential, insignificant, unimportant, and therefore undervalued,” Tomokane said. “I, myself, was guilty of this perception — summer camp was just somewhere kids can go to have something to do while out of school, until I witnessed the impacts it had on my kids and ultimately in my home."

Tomokane said this week's celebration is not only for 4-H Marianas but also for the hardworking individuals behind the scenes who, because of their meticulous planning and effective execution and implementation of this program, are the reasons why the 4-H Club is so successful.

"Let’s continue to invest in programs like these that cater to the exponential growth of our children — they are our future leaders of the Marianas," she said.