By Polly McClure
Jefferson County 4-H & Youth Development Programs strive to help young people develop skills in decision making, critical thinking and relationship building. As a program of the Alabama Cooperative Extension system here in Jefferson County, they seek to empower youth with the skills to lead our communities, our state, our nation, and also, our world. Alabama 4-H is open to all youth ages 9–18, exists in all 67 Alabama counties, and is also the largest youth development program in Alabama with more than 178,000 youth reached each year. Here in Jefferson County, they reach more than 10,000 children each year with community and special interest clubs in STEM, Coding, Financial, Robotics and Animal Science.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is the primary outreach and engagement organization for the land-grant mission of Alabama A&M University and Auburn University in cooperation with Tuskegee University. As such, Jefferson County 4-H programs, under the leadership of Izette McNealy, 4-H Foundation Regional Extension Agent and Bridgett Harris, 4-H County Extension Agent, strive to make agriculture part of everyday life. Helping Jefferson County Farmers Federation at Pinson Elementary Farm Days for over 800 students is just one way our important partnership is beneficial. Other 4-H agriculture activities throughout the county include shooting sports, sportfishing, school/community gardens, Alabama Water Watch and the Junior Master Gardener program.
This year, two of the County’s 4H students represented the county in leadership as the State 4-H ambassadors, Kenneth Reese, Shades Valley and J’Shell Rice, Holy Family Catholic. We are proud to partner with this important organization to empower the youth in Jefferson County as we work together to educate our community on the impact of agriculture in their daily lives.
For more information about the programs of Jefferson County 4-H, follow them on social media at Jefferson County 4-H Program or https://www.aces.edu/blog/category/4h/.