If we go back to day one of 4-H and look at the needs that we tried to address, the way we tried to address them and the format used for success then we can see three distinct categories of focus.
We have called these many things over the past decades and today 4-H nationally is again challenging us to focus on these same basic three 4-H fundamentals: science, health and citizenship.
Our science initially was agricultural based around corn, tomatoes, poultry and livestock.
For health it was in the preservation and preparation of the foods we ate.
And in citizenship it was an understanding we had a role in life, not just to exist at whatever we were doing, but that we had the responsibility of making our family, community and world a better place.
To address increased demand for science and technology professionals in our nation, National 4-H is working to reach a bold goal of engaging one million new young people in science programs by this year 2013.
Currently our 4-H science programs reach more than 5 million youth nationally with hands-on learning experiences to ensure global competitiveness and prepare the next generation of science, engineering and technology leaders.
Our Mississippi State University Extension 4-H Program has been and is currently actively involved in this challenge to prepared tomorrow's scientist, engineers and technicians.
There are currently 79,161 Mississippi 4-H'ers involved in 4-H SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) curricula including consumer and family sciences, plant and animal sciences, environmental sciences and general science and technology projects.
TOMORROW'S LEADERS TODAY
Research shows that youth development programs such as 4-H play a vital role in the lives of young people. On average, 4-H members achieve higher grades in school and are more likely to contribute to their communities than their peers.
The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development is a national longitudinal study that began in 2001 and continues today.
The survey tracks nearly 5,000 adolescents from diverse backgrounds, including Mississippi.
The study is being conducted by researchers at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University led by youth development scholar Dr. Richard Lerner.
The study's findings show youth can thrive when offered resources for healthy development in their families, schools and communities - regardless of their background, socioeconomic status, race or gender.
The study shows that compared to their peers, 4-H members are:
1.6 times more likely to report academic averages of B and above.
1.4 times more likely to report high academic competence.
1.5 times more likely to report greater involvement in high school.
1.8 times more likely to expect to go to college.
4-H members are also more likely to:
Participate in science, engineering and computer technology programs,
Outperform their classmates in subjects related to science and
Plan to pursue careers in science.
Female 4-H'ers are more likely to participate in science programs than their female classmates are.
STATISTICS FOR 2011
I realize we just completed the 2012 year but the most recent statistics we have on 4-H is 2011. Here are the results.
In 2011 95,683 youth, 5-18 years of age, participated in 4-H in Mississippi.
Youth participated in 4-H in the following ways:
23,934 youth were members of 1,145 4-H community-based clubs.
45,089 youth were members of 372 4-H special interest and short-term groups.
27,233 youth were involved in 189 4-H school enrichment groups.
5,937 youth in Day Camps.
1,509 youth participated in 4-H individual study programs.
337 youth participated in other delivery modes.
Of the 95,683 youth in Mississippi 4-H 8 percent lived on farms, 62 percent lived in towns under 10,000 and open country, 22 percent lived in towns and cities of 10,000 to 50,000 and 8 percent lived in suburbs and cities.
Mississippi 4-H is made up of 52 percent girls and 48 percent boys.
As far as grades in school 4-H consist of K-3rd - 32 percent; 4th-6th - 31 percent; 7th-9th - 14 percent; 10th-up - 19 percent; and Special - 4 percent.
The racial/ethnic breakdown is as follows: 53 percent white; 43 percent African-American; 2 percent Hispanic; 1 percent American Indian; and 1 percent Asian.
Volunteers are essential to the successful delivery of 4-H programs to youth.
In 2011 there were 8,104 youth and adult volunteer leaders working directly and indirectly with youth.
The average 4-H adult volunteer donates 220 hours per year in preparing for club meetings and teaching youth.
Each volunteer drives and average 300 to 400 miles for 4-H in a personally owned vehicle and spend $40 to $60 annually on teaching materials.
Estimated value of the total time volunteers devote to 4-H plus their out-of-pocket expenses is over $27,242,406.00.
NESHOBA COUNTY 2012 4-H DATA
In Neshoba County for 2012 there 2,560 youth who participated in at least one 4-H activity.
Of this number 1,345 were male and 1,215 were female.
Racial breakdown was as follows: 1,528 white, 841 black, 163 American Indian, 23 Hispanic and 5 Asian
We have 448 youth enrolled in eleven community 4-H clubs, 21 enrolled in one school club, 1,154 enrolled in 6 special interest programs, 1,182 enrolled in 3 school enrichment programs and 88 enrolled in individual study.
This number includes duplications.
We had 302 of our members from farms, 2,258 from rural areas and town less than 10,000 people.
Finally Neshoba County has an excellent number of volunteers with 180 total.
There are 108 male volunteers and 72 female volunteers.
There are an additional five volunteers who are youth volunteers.
As you can see 4-H is very active not only in Neshoba County but in the state of Mississippi as well.
I hope you will support 4-H when you can this year and if you know of someone who would like to join 4-H have them to give me a call.
My phone number is (601) 656-4602.
Jan. 9 - Leadership Neshoba, 8 a.m., Community Development Partnership Depot.