AUBURN, Ala. – As America recognizes National 4-H Week Oct. 1-7, Alabama 4-H has a lot to celebrate. It 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 last three-years. 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,” said Dr. Paul Brown, associate director for Alabama Extension.
4-H in 48 Percent of Schools
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, which is an 11 percent increase from the previous year. Out-of-school 4-H clubs, camps and educational programs involved an additional 42,883 youth.
Volunteers Are Valuable Contributions
More than 10,500 volunteers contributed 101,441 hours to 4-H programs in 2016-17. In addition, 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 grew in almost every category.
- Total 4-H Club Membership up 9 percent to 46,086
- 4-H Enrichment Participants up 34 percent to 137, 925
- 4-H membership in in-school clubs up 14 percent.
- Female members went from 75,091 to 93,575.
- Male members went from 69,706 to 90,448.
- Hispanic youth numbers were up 25 percent to 13,367.
- Black youth enrollment also increased by 32 percent from 43,029 to 56,911.
- 4-H’ers from Cities and Suburbs over 50,000 increased 65 percent or 22,252.
- 4-H’ers in Central Cities over 50,000 increased 17 percent to 19,603.
- American Indian membership was up 11 percent to 1,436.
- Enrollment in K-3 was up 25 percent while it was up 50 percent in 4-6 grades and 23 percent in 7-12 grades.
“As a 4-H Foundation regional Extension agent, my feet are on the ground every day. I see Alabama’s 4-H footprint getting bigger and it is exciting to see youth grow together as catalysts for positive change,” said Izette McNealy, president of the Alabama 4-H Agents Association. “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 each other no matter their background.”
12 New CYI Counties Named
In addition, 12 counties earned Centennial Youth Initiative status in 2017. These counties include Barbour, Chambers, Clarke, Colbert, Franklin, Jefferson, Lee, Randolph, Russell, Tallapoosa, Walker and also Wilcox.
The CYI program develops 4-H programs to increase access so that more youth can participate in the program. Also, it works to enhance the learning experiences that are available to youth in Alabama.