Jeanne Glaser | 8/12/2010 11:26:18 PM
The 4-H program in Pointe Coupee Parish is part of a local, state, national and international youth program. The program was established as a three-way partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture, the state's land grant university, Louisiana State University and the local government. Local support comes from the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board, the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury and community support. The 4-H program is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States.
4-H is a fun and exciting youth organization that offers hands-on learning or experiential learning as the foundation of the program. This occurs through project work, method demonstrations, contests, workshops, junior leader club activities, camps and service activities or service learning.
The national brief description of the program is “4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.” The 4-H motto is “To Make the Best Better.”
Membership is open to all students in Pointe Coupee Parish who are nine years of age before January 1 of the current year or in the fourth grade and who have not passed their 20th birthday on January 1 of the current year. The program is open to all people regardless of race, color, gender, age, handicap, religion or national origin.
The state of Louisiana, including Pointe Coupee Parish, is proud to be one of the last areas to still incorporate 4-H in the classroom. A monthly club meeting is held with approximately 21 school clubs in the parish. The 4-H agents conduct a monthly series of educational programs in public, private and community clubs. As the nation strives to produce more young scientists, the 4-H program in Pointe Coupee Parish promotes science, engineering and technology to approximately 750 elementary and high school students.
Club members elect officers (president, vice president, secretary, reporter, treasurer, parliamentarian, photographer and CRD chairman) who, with the volunteer leaders’ assistance, plan educational activities, service projects or service-learning and conduct club meetings each month. Parents may contact their child’s school 4-H club leader to assist in various roles and capacities. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to assist our school teachers in their role as 4-H leader, as well as our agents in events and contests.
The 4-H agents in our parish develop and execute educational programs and activities that provide youth the opportunity to develop such life skills as self-esteem, community and citizen responsibility, decision making, organization and social interaction. These characteristics allow youth the self confidence and communications skills to achieve the 4-H mission: Through nonformal, research based, experiential education activities, 4-H participants gain knowledge and life skills enabling them to become positive, productive, capable and compassionate members of their communities.
Agents are assisted in this capacity by staff members of the LSU AgCenter and by state and regional programmatic specialist of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. The success of our local program is due to the tremendous success of our school teachers that serve as organizational leaders, parent volunteers and other volunteers that continue to share their time, talents and special touch with the youth of the program. Many of these serve as members of advisory leadership councils (ALC) and/or committees, project leaders, contest day judges, etc. Through these leadership roles, adults as well as youth volunteers serve as equal partners in the decision making process.
Annual enrollment begins in September and continues through October of each school year. Members complete an enrollment card by selecting at least one project and pay their annual membership dues. Pointe Coupe 4-H invites every grade 4 student in the parish to join the program free of charge for one year to gain knowledge about 4-H. A variety of parish events, such as contests and activities, are conducted throughout the program year September through August. These contests are open to only 4-H members.
Project books are given out to each member in October of every year. They provide a variety of activities in a specific area for the member to work on at home or with fellow members in the same area. We advise parents to lead by example in the areas of support through motivation, encouragement and guidance.
Monthly newsletters are given out along with contest rules at the club meetings. The newsletters can also be accessed at various sub-channels of our web site. They include announcements of workshops as well as a wide variety of educational activities.
When members have completed their project book, they can request additional books by calling our office. Record book competition is another way to get members motivated to highlight their yearly accomplishments. Project books are usually due in late March of each year. These books are judged and outstanding members are recognized for their accomplishments.
Beginning in September of each year, students in grade 7-12 are invited to join the parish Junior Leadership Club. This after school, teen club focuses on community service projects throughout the year. In addition to monthly meetings, Junior Leaders provide time and assistance to the agents by volunteering at various 4-H contests and events.
Pointe Coupee 4-H also reaches approximately 1,000 students through the Junior Master Gardening program. The goal of this program is to promote responsibility and learning outside of the classroom. With the help of Pointe Coupee school teachers, the garden classroom provides students with hands on activities that deepen their understanding of lessons taught in a regular classroom. The students are solely responsible for planting, watering and weeding their garden plants. In this alternative classroom, students are able to utilize Math through counting and measuring, Language Art skills through record keeping, English skills through journaling and Science through experimentation. The students also learn character development by being responsible, trustworthy, respectful and nurturing.
If you would like more information about the Pointe Coupee Parish 4-H Program please call our office at (225) 638-5533.
Become a 4-H member or volunteer leader today and join us in "making the best better!" The 4-H program is available at the following public, private, parochial and home schools in Pointe Coupee Parish.