AUBURN, Ala.- Alabama 4-H has numerous types of clubs. These clubs are available all over Alabama, not just in rural areas. Some counties offer clubs through local school systems, some have after-school specialty clubs and some counties have both.
4-H focuses on youth development and education through various hands-on activities and events. Becoming a 4-H member allows youth to participate in a variety of opportunities that may not have been previously available.
Animal Science clubs range from horse to beef or dairy, to poultry and swine, plus many more. Youth can learn about sustainability, forestry and wildlife and outdoor recreation in Natural Resource clubs. A large portion of 4-H is creating young leaders, members can learn about career exploration, citizenship and leadership in the Leadership and Citizenship clubs. Consumer Science clubs focus on teaching youth to be financially responsible and how to plan for the future. 4-H offers Healthy Lifestyle clubs including fitness and sports, foods and nutrition, health and safety clubs. Science and Technology clubs include aerospace, GPS and robotics, to name a few.
There are many ways to find a 4-H club in your county, if you are not already a member. Parents can go to the Alabama 4-H website and select your residing county to find available clubs and join online. If you don’t have access to a computer or the website, you can contact your County Extension office for assistance.
“Having the opportunity to watch my daughter and her friends grow and learn new things through 4-H was an incredible experience,” Jeanne Barlow, a former 4-H volunteer said. “I was given so many opportunities that I would have never had without 4-H. It is something I encourage all parents and their children to get involved in.”
Each county page has an officer listing, available clubs and newsletter. Each page also has a listing of upcoming 4-H events in the county. Some clubs’ pages offer more information than others, so try contacting a county representative for more information as well. Many counties have Facebook pages for different clubs that can show more pictures and up-to-date information, too.
Members and potential members seeking to add a new club to their county can do so through a few simple steps. The 4-H year starts August 1 and ends July 31 each year. To create a club, volunteers should contact the county Extension office and fill out the enrollment forms.
To create a club, volunteers must complete the Alabama 4-H Volunteer Application and have a background check completed before being approved. Youth that want to become members of the club must complete an application, either online or on paper.
“The best starting point is always the website, then call the county office. County Extension offices make decisions on what clubs are needed or can be supported by staff, said Nancy Alexander, an Extension specialist of volunteerism.