ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY, Ala.—The Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Alabama A&M University (AAMU) officially launched its 4-H program in 2020. Nationally, 4-H is the largest youth development organization in the United States. It serves approximately six million young people nationwide and more than 20,000 youth in Alabama each year. Delivered by the system, Alabama 4-H programs at both AAMU and Auburn University offer youth ages five to 18 the opportunity to engage in health, science, volunteerism, leadership, agricultural and other initiatives.
The National 4-H Council, an advocacy organization, also leads the program. It is dedicated to serving kids in rural, urban and suburban communities. The first step to accessing Alabama 4-H at AAMU is for young people and their families to enroll in the program.
How to Enroll in 4-H
Alabama 4-H at AAMU encourages youth across the state, particularly those in urban and suburban communities, to get involved in 4-H. To get started, go to the Enrolling in 4HOnline page and complete a family profile. The profile includes a list of activities youth would like to participate in as a member of Alabama 4-H at AAMU. Many of these activities are also virtual.
Virtual 4-H Activities
Virtual programs offered by Alabama 4-H at AAMU are as follows:
STREAM stands for science, technology, reading, engineering, agriculture and mathematics. This program ties in the fundamentals of STEM learning with an added focus on reading. STREAM Stories is a virtual reading series for kids ages six to 11. Kids are invited to participate in a STEM activity after a story is read.
The Code Club engages youth in grades four through 12 in a number of coding activities that enables them to design an application for Apple devices. Activities include programming LEGO® models to follow commands and experimenting with everyday materials to solve real-world problems.
The Vaping Education and Prevention Workshop is targeted to youth ages eight to 14 and covers the adverse effects of vaping. This workshop is part of the Health Rocks!® program that helps youth build skills to avoid drugs, alcohol and tobacco products.
This past summer, the 4-H Team hosted a virtual robotics camp for youth ages nine to 13 interested in learning more about coding and robotics. Participants learned about block coding necessary to build a virtual robot.
Other 4-H Programs
In addition to the virtual programs, Health Rocks!® and STREAM, Alabama 4-H at AAMU also offers the anti-bullying series called Helping Youth to Promote Empathy or HYPE.
Robotics clubs encourage creativity, problem-solving and collaboration skills in a supportive learning environment. Key STEM concepts and text-based coding skills are learned in order to solve complex challenges. Robotics clubs help youth to put mathematical concepts to the test as they develop better knowledge of robotics, computer programming and teamwork. Activities may include using land-based robotics kits from Lego and Vex systems, commanding flying robots and drones or participating in robotics competitions.
“We want youth and parents across the state and beyond to know that Alabama Extension at AAMU has a viable 4-H program. 4-H provides youth with fun, engaging, hands-on learning experiences and skills that prepare them to be community leaders,” said Angela Williams, Alabama 4-H youth development specialist.
“Our programs are available to youth in schools, after-school programs, churches and youth service organizations such as the YMCA and local Boys & Girls Clubs,” said Williams.