Community thanks 4-H for impact on students

Published 10:20 pm Monday, October 7, 2019

In communities across Alabama, signs are popping up in yards, store fronts and boulevards that say “Thank You, 4-H!”  It’s part of a statewide effort to recognize the lasting impact 4-H has on young people.

Selina Dodson, 4-H Foundation Regional Extension Agent, said 4-H is the largest youth organization in Alabama with more than 178,000 young people participating in the program last year.

“Pike County has a long history of 4-H programming. Last year, Pike County 4-H delivered in-school and enrichment programming to all students in grades four through six in Pike County,” Dodson said. There were 4-H Clubs in the seventh- and eighth-grades at Charles Henderson Middle School and Pike Liberal Arts School.

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“Also, there were enrichment programs for ninth-graders at Charles Henderson High School and Community Clubs for students ages nine-18. Twenty-three students attended 4-H Summer Camp.”

Students from all clubs had opportunities to participate in Pig Pen, Pig Sequel, Cackle Club, Chick Chain and Rabbit projects.

“In addition to these clubs, there was a high school club at Pike Liberal Arts School, a special needs club at Charles Henderson High School and enrichment programs for the Agriculture Academy at Goshen High School have been planned,” Dodson said.

The benefits of 4-H are far reaching. The program is available to young people in every county in the state.

“It has been found that young people in 4-H are four times more likely to give back to their communities, two times more likely to make healthier choices and two times more likely to participate in STEM activities,” said Molly Gregg, Alabama Cooperative Extension System assistant director for 4-H.

“Also, 4-H prepares young people for life as citizens and leaders in their communities. This week, communities are saying thank you to a program that creates so many positive opportunities for young people, she said.

“The growth of Alabama 4-H reflects its commitment to empowering young people. The 4-H program offers hands-on experiential learning in animal science, art, healthy living, leadership and citizenship, outdoor education and also science and technology.”

Participation in 4-H is at an all-time high and is active in 50 percent of Alabama schools. Last year, the program delivered in-school, after-school and enrichment programming in 729 schools to 134,845 youth. An additional 44,039 young people participated in out-of-school 4-H clubs, camps and educational programs.  Total 4-H club membership up 11 percent to 51,217. Total 4-H clubs up 43 percent to 3,111. Overnight camping is up 4 percent to 3,810. Membership in community clubs up 27 percent. Members in military and after-school clubs up 3,243 from 2,870 and enrollment in grades 7-12 up 26 percent to 52,735.

“In addition, Alabama 4-H is supporting workforce needs now and in the future,” Gregg said. “Alabama 4-H provides fun opportunities and rewarding experiences that have young people returning year-after-year. It seeks to empower them with the skills to lead their communities and also grow into future leaders.”

For more information about Pike County 4-H Clubs call 334-566-0985.