Dr. Richard Clark
Over the last few months I have been able to visit with over 20 counties via Zoom to find out more about our county 4-H programs. While the use of technology is not the preferred way to visit counties, it does provide for face- to face video interaction and saves substantially on travel time and costs. I hope to visit with the remaining counties before the end of the year.
So what have I found out from my visits so far?
- We have highly motivated staff that deeply care about 4-H and youth.
- Our 4-H staff are working closely with schools to tie lessons and activities to state standards.
- They appreciate the new curriculum and activity sheets being developed by Jennifer Richards and our Extension Specialists.
- The limited amount of minutes allocated to club meetings in the schools is a concern. It is hard to show impact with limited face-to-face meeting time.
- Use of volunteers is still limited. Efforts to recruit and utilize volunteers need to increase.
- Counties are working hard to fill their camp numbers for this summer. Many counties have donors helping to provide scholarships.
- Efforts to keep middle school and high school members is a challenge. Much of the success is due to judging teams, honor clubs, collaboration with FFA, and workforce preparation programs in conjunction with schools. All counties indicated a desire to increase the involvement of older youth.
- Transitioning to digital portfolios is a good idea but comes with a few glitches and learning curves.
I look forward to visiting with each county. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any concerns related to the Tennessee 4-H program.
Thanks for all you do to support 4-H!