4H seeks new members

Published 7:58 am Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The beginning of the school year in Alabama also signals the start of the year for the state’s largest youth development organization – 4-H.

Alabama 4-H is in its 103rd year and offers diverse educational opportunities to more than 78,000 youth in 1,700 clubs, said Kristie Freeman, Pike County 4-H leader.

“Pike County has a strong and active 4-H program, with many different opportunities for all youth. We are beginning enrollment in the city and county school systems throughout the month of September,” Freeman, said. “In addition to city and county schools, we also will be enrolling students who are home schooled.”

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In hard economic times being faced by all families, 4-H continues to not charge a membership fee and offers no cost to low-cost programs and events.

“Some of our specialized programs outside the schools include archery, steer and heifer shows, and horseback riding and judging,” Freeman said. “This offers students leadership skills and team building opportunities.”

The youth development mission of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, 4-H has agents in each county who work with youth and train volunteer leaders to provide a wide range of educational program

Grant Lyons, Pike County Extension coordinator said that 4-H offers unique adult mentorship and research-based youth development education because of its link to land-grant universities nationwide, something no other youth development organization offers. “The mission of 4-H is to empower young people to reach their full potential,” Lyons said.

The national theme of 4-H, “Join the Revolution of Responsibility,” is tied to a national research report that shows 4-H’ers are caring, involved and responsible youth.

“The study shows that 4-H’ers are 25 percent more likely to contribute to their families and communities, spend more time exercising and being physically active and two times less likely to engage in drug use, drink alcohol or to use cigarettes,” Lyons said.

In addition to clubs, Alabama 4-H’ers can take part in a wide variety of activities offered by the community, county and state, including workshops, achievement programs, camps, tours and competitive events.

“There are also national trips for youth who excel in leadership and citizenship skills, including Citizenship Washington Focus, National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Conference,” Lyons said.

Alabama 4-H is open to youth between the ages of 9 and 18 and offers many types of clubs.

For more information call or email, 334-566-0985, ksf0003@aces.edu, or online at www.aces.edu/Pike.