AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – 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.
4-H is the largest youth organization in Alabama. Last year alone, more than 178,000 young people participated in the program that is offered in every county in the state.
“We know that 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.
“4-H prepares young people for life as citizens and leaders in their communities,” Gregg said. “This week, communities are saying thank you to a program that creates so many positive opportunities for young people.”
The opportunities made available to members as young people shape them into tomorrow’s leaders. In Alabama, for more than 100 years, 4-H has committed to creating true leaders with the skills to guide their communities.
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.
Each program activity is purposefully selected to positively shape experiences. Alabama 4-H participants work together, build relationships and support each other with encouragement.
“I became an ambassador because I wanted to advance my leadership and communication skills to the fullest potential through 4-H,” said Kenneth Reese, Alabama 4-H state ambassador president. “I also wanted to be a role model to younger youth and show them the opportunities 4-H offers.”
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.
- 4-H overnight camping 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.
- 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.
“In 2019, more than 35,000 young people across the state expressed interest in science, technology, engineering, math, robotics, woodworking, rocketry, aerospace, GIS/GPS and a use of a Mobile Tech Lab,” Gregg said. “4-H is the only statewide organization positioned to meet this need.”
4-H Changes Lives
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.
Alabama 4-H is part of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and uses regional Extension agents as well as community volunteers, corporate partners, alumni and parents to deliver youth development programs in all 67 counties.