Pike County names 2015 for 4-H

Published 4:00 am Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Pike County Extension Office 4-H team has been distinguished as one of the Alabama 4-H Centennial Youth Initiative counties.

In recognition of the achievement, the Pike County Commission has declared the year 2015 the Year of the 4-H Centennial Youth Initiative in Pike County.

The Pike County Commissioners presented the proclamation of declaration to the Pike County Extension team at its Monday meeting.

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Commission Chairman Homer Wright said the Pike County Office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System has achieved excellence in all areas of Alabama 4-H programming.

“More than 1,650 Pike County youth have benefited from 4-H enrichment programs and positive youth development during the last two years,” Wright said. “In Pike County, 4-H addresses the needs of youth through hands-on learning programs and positive youth development.”

The 4-H program builds character, self-esteem, leadership and citizenship skills and focuses on critical issues affecting youth, Wright said.

“Through 4-H, students have the opportunity to participate in programs on science and technology, natural resources, career education, citizenship and leadership and health lifestyles. These programs enhance the quality of the lives of our youth.”

Commissioner Charlie Harris expressed appreciation to the 4-H leaders for the role they play in the lives of so many Pike County youth. He also acknowledged Commissioner Ray Goodson for his longtime support of 4-H.

“Commissioner Goodson has many times pounded on the table asking for support of his ‘children,’” Harris said.

Goodson said he was member of the 4-H Club 60 years ago, and 4-H positively impacted his life.

“What young people learn in 4-H, they will remember all their lives,” Goodson said. “When I was in 4-H, I raised hogs. The first hog show I was in I came in last. I told my daddy we had to do something about that. The next show, I came in second. Those are the kinds of lessons you learn in 4-H.”

Dr. Paul Brown, association director for Alabama Extension, recognized Pike County 4-H leaders, Grant Lyons, Emily Roling, Drew Thompson and Heath Wesley with 100 Year Youth Excellence Initiative medals.

Vicki Pritchett, Johnson Center for the Arts executive director, was on the Commission’s agenda to talk about the role the arts center plays in the community and the impact art programs have on the learning abilities of children.

Pritchett said when she became the Johnson Center executive director 18 months ago, it was goal, her commitment, for a member of every family in Pike County to visit the Johnson Center within two years.

“Through a variety of arts events, including student tours and teacher workshops, Pritchett said 10,000 people have participated in events at the Johnson Center and The Studio in the last 18 months.

“And many of those were minorities and the underserved population in the area of arts,” she said. “Studies have shown that students who are involved in the arts are more creative and do better in school.”

Pritchett said the Johnson Center has received a $50,000 matching grant from the Daniel Foundation that will be used to renovate the Center’s former train station into a classroom facility for youth and adults.

She thanked the Commissioners for their continuing support and asked for their support in acquiring the matching funds for the Daniel Foundation grant.

In Commission business, County Engineer Russell Oliver requested approval for two road department employees who have completed their six-month probation period. The request was approved.

Oliver’s request to accept the high bid by J.M. Wood Auction Company of $72,000 for a motor grader the county offered for sale was granted.

The next scheduled meeting of the Pike County Commission will be Aug. 10 with budget hearings to begin at 6:30 p.m.