November 2017
Youth Matters

4-H Extension Corner: Another Outstanding Year for Alabama 4-H

2016-2017 program  year sees great gains in membership and participation.

 

Alabama 4-H had a banner year for 2016-2017. Total enrollment for the youth organization in the state was 184,021. That is a 27-percent increase from the previous year.

"Alabama 4-H has experienced tremendous growth over the past three years," said Dr. Paul Brown, associate director for Alabama Cooperative Extension System. "We have taken what we value from 100 years of 4-H in Alabama and have made it relevant for today’s youth. Our county 4-H teams work hard to provide active learning experiences for all youth ages 9 to 18."

According to the report, Alabama 4-H delivered in-school, after-school and enrichment programming in 705 schools to 141,138 youth. 4-H is present in 48 percent of all Alabama schools, an 11-percent increase from the previous year. An additional 42,883 youth are involved in out-of-school 4-H clubs, camps and educational programs.

Over 10,500 volunteers contributed 101,441 hours to 4-H programs in 2016-17. These hours are valued at $2.4 million.

"I am super excited about the results and the hard work of our agents in the field to achieve the enrollment summary data we have for the year," said Dr. Molly Gregg, assistant director 4-H program.

Numbers are up in almost every category:

 

"As a 4-H Foundation Regional Extension Agent, my feet are on the ground every day," said Izette McNealy, president of the Alabama 4-H Agents Association. "I see Alabama’s 4-H footprint getting bigger and it is exciting to see youth grow together as catalysts for positive change. I see it happening in urban neighborhoods, suburban communities and rural areas of Alabama. 4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, and youth are learning to value one another – no matter their background."

In addition, 12 counties were named Centennial Youth Initiative counties in 2017. These counties include Barbour, Chambers, Clarke, Colbert, Franklin, Jefferson, Lee, Randolph, Russell, Tallapoosa, Walker and Wilcox.

The CYI program is committed to developing 4-H programs to increase access so more youth can participate in the program and to enhance the learning experiences available to youth in Alabama.

 

Donna Reynolds is the communication editor of news and public affairs with ACES in Auburn.