The Heart of the 4-H Program is in the County

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Justin Crowe, Director and State 4-H Program Leader

Many of you have heard me share multiple times over the years that the heart of the 4-H program is within the county programs and that is one hundred percent true. Every level is important and each one plays its role, but the work that happens in the county program that gives young people countless opportunities is meaningful, it’s important, and absolutely an integral part of our total 4-H program.

I had the opportunity to experience a great example of that this past week when I was invited to attend the Van Buren County 4-H Awards program. County Director Chris Binkley had invited me to attend the Van Buren County 4-H Awards program a while back, and though I was unable to at the time, I am so glad I got to visit today. The UT Extension staff does an amazing job in Van Buren County: County Director and Ag Agent Chris Binkley; Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Paula May; 4-H Youth Development Agent Shelby Boyer; and Administrative Assistant Kayla Hitchcock; make for a great team.

While there, I got to see their new Extension office, and I enjoyed seeing them recognize so many outstanding 4-H members from fourth to twelfth grades. It was a wonderful program and certainly reminds me of why we do what we do every single day. In visiting with Mr. Binkley, he shared with me what he feels makes their county program a real success: everyone works, everybody supports each other, and they especially support 4-H. This is evident from the quality of the young people and the amazing experiences that they are provided in the county. I want to give a special thanks to each one of you who do an amazing job on the county level, providing opportunities for our 4-H members and giving them experiences to last a lifetime. I also want to thank Van Buren County for letting me come and be a part of that this past week.