For many children from rural communities, the 4-H club is a way to make friends and learn new life skills.
For two little girls from California, their time in the club may have made the difference between life and death.
Sisters Caroline, 5, and Leia Carrico, 8, were reported missing on Friday after sneaking out of their home to go for a walk.
The girls had asked their mother if they could go outside before their disappearance, but were told no. Sometime later, they managed to slip out of the house and became lost.
The area in Humboldt County where the pair went missing is treacherous, even for adults, so as the hours ticked by hope of bringing the girls home safe began to fade.
But, incredibly, both girls were found alive (although cold and dehydrated) by rescue crews on Sunday, 1.4 miles away from their home in the small town of Benbow.
Lieutenant Mike Fridley said that their mother “melted” on the phone when she good news, and had to hang up to cry.
Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal told reporters it was “a miracle” the girls were found without injuries after 44 hours in the “extreme environment,” and said survival skills they learned in their 4-H club helped protect them.
The girls knew to stay in one place after they realized they were lost, and drank dew from huckleberry leaves. Their mother also told reporters the girls screamed for help until they lost their voices.
The pair also apparently planned ahead for their trip outdoors, because rescuers following their boot prints also found granola bar wrappers left on the ground.
The pair were given food, water, and warm clothes by sheriff’s deputies, and spent time recuperating in hospital.
All’s well that ends well, and while we bet Caroline and Leia won’t go adventuring again anytime soon, they might be cut out for careers as park rangers when they grow up.