July 2014
Youth Matters

4-H Extension Corner: Soaring Wings at the Alabama 4-H Center

  Raptor programs are one of the highlights at the 4-H Center.

Watching the smooth flight of any bird can be both inspiring and uplifting. This magical event can be observed daily at the Alabama 4-H Center in two fashions: The abundant natural wildlife and by children exposed to the Alabama 4-H Center.

The goal of the Alabama 4-H Center is to provide a platform where young people can come to learn by doing, while creating lifelong memories for the youth. There is nothing like it in the world when you see the impact our team has on youth. The noticeable growth in confidence of a child from the arrival to the departure from the 4-H Center is like watching a bird take flight.

Programs at the Alabama 4-H Center can range from a formal classroom setting to outdoor learning venues about the waters, forests, ecosystems and animals.

We have the greatest classroom for learning that I have been involved with; the ability to see, touch and learn in a fluid process is amazing.

 Flag raising at the 4-H Center is a morning ritual for 4-Hers at camp.  

The Coosa River Science School has impacted thousands of children of all ages, distinguishing itself as a national leader in environmental education and development of youth. The live species programs of the Raptor Trek and Herpetology (birds and reptiles) are among some of the best in the United States.

Becky Collier and her staff are one of a kind. Her passion for sharing and in teaching kids is evident every day and is duplicated at every level by the staff who come in contact with the children.

As well as the onsite setting of the Coosa River Science School, the environmental education expands in all directions as far as the public will allow via the Outreach Program.

I wish I had a penny for every mile logged by the staff in the Raptor Trek van. I am fairly certain that from Limestone County to Mobile County and from Choctaw County to Chambers County, our Raptor Trek Van has been spotted by the great folks of Alabama.

The activities available for groups at the Alabama 4-H Center are abundant. The growth that can take place with selected activities ranges from physical accomplishments building confidence and character to analytical course information that can assist in increasing knowledge base and aid in decision making.

The activity slice-of-the-pie at the Alabama 4-H Center impacts each and every child. The mastering of something, whether it is physical or intellectual, is something you see continually with the young people.

Marisol Clark, who directs activities at the 4-H Center, is awesome. She knows what kids need and what they want and is able to blend the ideas into activities that are flat out fun.

Our instructors are well trained in safety and procedures that lead to great experiences for all involved.

The Alabama 4-H Foundation and Alabama Cooperative Extension System are the driving forces behind the Alabama 4-H Center.

We have been able to grow at the Center on the back of hard work by great people all over Alabama. The impact of the Center reaches every corner of the state. I feel honored to be here and assisting in the continued growth of the 4-H Center.

Summer camps and school groups have been enjoying the Center for years. I want to continue to foster those relationships. Corporate and church retreats that have come to visit the Center have returned year after year because of the great things accomplished during their meetings and/or fellowship.

So, like watching a soaring eagle in its strong flight and majestic travel, the Alabama 4-H Center has traveled a majestic journey to this point – one that has been amazing.

We have been able to grow the impact the Alabama 4-H Center has on Alabama children in leaps and bounds.

Sandra Spencer, who has been the Alabama 4-H Center manager for the past 14 years, is the reason. Her footprint will never leave us. Her heart and soul were put into the 4-H Center. This is evident by the relationships formed and the magnitude of folks impacted by her actions.

I will work tirelessly to deliver the same passion and commitment that Sandra delivered for the state of Alabama.

Come see us at the Alabama 4-H Center and be part of the flight!

William Hemmer is the new manager of the Alabama 4-H Center.