4-H and Youth Development : Innovations for Changing Times.
Mario Villarino, County Extension Agent, Hopkins County
The 4-H Story: A History of 4-H Club Work, by Franklin M. Reck and 4-H: An American Idea, 1900-1980, by Thomas Wessel and Marilyn Wessel document the origin of the 4-H Youth Development Program throughout the United States. In summary, the rapid changes taking place in rural America at the turn of the century led educators to seek ways to link learning to the needs of rural families. Youth were leaving farms to seek jobs in towns and cities. Adult farmers were reluctant to try new techniques of crop production. Agricultural leaders began seeking ways to teach agricultural producers improved methods of crop production. The first county Extension agent in Texas was appointed in 1906, 8 years before the organization of Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Two years later, T.M. (Tom) Marks, county agricultural agent, organized the first boys’ “corn club” in Jack County. Marks found that he was more successful teaching new production technology to the youth than to the adults. Within a matter of years, “pig clubs,” “beef calf clubs” (Coleman County, 1910) and girls’ “tomato clubs” (Milam County, 1912) were also initiated. The stage was set for the rapid expansion of educational programs directed to rural youth. Within a span of 91 years, 4-H enrollment in Texas has grown from the original 25 corn club members in Jack County in 1908 to more than one million youth in 2000! The Texas 4-H Museum is located in Jacksboro (Jack County), the birthplace of 4-H in Texas.
Many clubs and projects have marked the success of 4-H. From raising champion steers, develop working skills, to recycling and building robots, Hopkins County 4-H is making part of the 4-H history in Texas by facing the challenges of today’s society. With learning by doing as the fundamental principle for adopting new techniques, Hopkins County 4-H provides projects and experiences our families can share and be part of. I believe that family involvement on youth activities is the key to maintain families together and provides long lasting memories that will support emotional development of our youth. While many youth programs focus in personal development, 4-H provides experiences the complete family can get engaged and enjoy. So, next time you are looking for a learning experience to share with your child and your family, make sure you give 4-H a try.: We want you to be part of our big family, our 4-H family!. We are getting ready to start our livestock projects and our state and county steer validation has been scheduled for June 16, 2012 from 9 to 11:00 AM at Dairy Health Services in Sulphur Springs. If you are interested in raising a steer as a project for our county show, make sure to have a project selected and ready to be validated by June 16. This year, a quality counts certification number will be required to validate projects for Hopkins County and most state shows. For more information on 4-H, livestock projects and Quality Counts, please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443.