Tennessee 4-H: A Family Affair

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Dr. Dwight Loveday

Last week, I attended the sheep events of the Tennessee Junior Livestock Expo. As with most livestock shows, there was a lot of activity with movement of people and animals. One of the many things that excited me was the number of new exhibitors that were children of former 4-H participants. I had the opportunity to reconnect with these former 4-H exhibitors and meet their new 4-H members.

These “second generation” exhibitors reminded me of the importance of our Tennessee 4-H family. 4-H alumni are very important in keeping our Tennessee 4-H program strong. They share with their children, and most likely others, their 4-H experiences. They want their young 4-H members to have similar fun and learning experiences. As these “former exhibitors” greeted each other, they share their memories.

Also, these new 4-H parents become a valuable resource in our county programs. They have a keen interest in their children’s project activities and demonstrate enthusiasm for our 4-H program. 4-H alumni are great prospects for volunteer leaders in our 4-H educational programs. Let’s keep our Tennessee 4-H traditions alive by incorporating 4-H alumni in our programming.