Helping hands: ‘ 4-H in today’s world’ topic of Rotary program
Published 3:00 am Thursday, September 25, 2014
The Alabama 4-H Clubs are not just about corn and cows anymore.
While 4-H Clubs continue to focus on agriculture and the vital role it plays in the lives of every person on the planet, 4-H also accommodates every need of today’s youth community.
That’s the message Drew Thompson, 4-H Foundation Agent for Pike and Dale Counties, brought to the Brundidge Rotarians Wednesday.
“Our 4-H Clubs encourage kids to get outside their houses and outside the box and experience the many things that are offered to them through the 4-H programs,” Thompson said. “Four-H has something for every interest.”
Thompson was recently hired as the 4-H Foundation agent and his time is split between Pike and Dale counties.
He is a graduate of Auburn University and holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a master’s degree in horticulture.
“My passion is agriculture,” Thompson said. “While at Auburn, I noticed the great need for leaders, especially male, for the youth of our communities. That’s why I am where I am today. I want to encourage the youth of our community to learn more about agriculture and everything else 4-H has to offer.”
Thompson said the diversity of 4-H today allows for many options.
“There’s a club or event for any interested youth,” he said. “Our field includes animals and agriculture, creative arts, science and technology, natural resources, healthy living, consumer sciences and leadership and citizenship.”
Thompson said the programs that have been successful over the years will continue to be offered. The livestock club, meat judging team, photography, public speaking, wood working, archery, forestry judging and the horse club are among the programs that have traditionally been popular with young people.
Thompson highlighted several of the more unique programs –robotics, health rocks, the $15 challenge, extreme birdhouses, outdoor sports and the junior master gardener program.
Those interested in robotics will be challenged with items and innovator projects such as building bridges with paper towel tubes and creating a high tower with spaghetti.
“Our junior master gardeners might be asked to design a hamburger plant,” Thompson said. “Everything that goes on a hamburger comes for a plant, even the meat, which comes from a cow that ate the plants.”
Thompson said 4-H’ers will have opportunities to serve on youth councils and participate in leadership conferences such as Citizenship Washington Focus.
“We will also encourage our 4-H’ers to be involved in their communities through participation,” he said. “We have clubs in every school in Pike County, so 4-H is reaching out to our young people. I’m eager to continue reaching out into our community and supporting the needs of students and educators of Pike County.”