“I pledge my Head to clearer thinking,g my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service and my Health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.”
— 4-H motto
Tough economic times continue to haunt our state as well as its university system.
In a shortsighted move, University of Georgia higher-ups decided to throw out the idea of eliminating the statewide 4-H program recently. The backlash has been one which has made this former member proud even as I have joined in the crusade to stop the nonsense.
Of the many extra-curricular activities I participated in during my school years, ranging from sports to drama, 4-H remains one of my favorites. It went well beyond the projects and things that were required to be a part of the organization.
Looking back, those things were indeed important. However, the group (which is probably my green is my favorite color) helped form lasting friendships which, for me, still stand strong almost 30 years later.
It taught important lessons in life, ones which helped shape the character I have. To see some suits trying to eliminate it now makes me even more disillusioned with the whole political process.
What’s most absurd about the proposed elimination of 4-H, as well as doing away with some county extension offices, is the fact that no proposed cuts were offered up for some college administrators and professors making well in the six figure range. I guess it’s more important to protect your own pocket than to look out for a program which benefits thousands of students across the state on an annual basis.
Almost as soon as word of the sword falling on the neck of 4-H broke, citizens began taking action. Former members like myself, parents of students currently involved in the program and those who realize the hypocrisy of the proposal began calling their elected officials, forming Facebook pages and contacting University of Georgia higher-ups about the possibility of 4-H being eliminated.
On the record at least, most elected lawmakers say they support 4-H and would not do anything to jeopardize the program or its funding. It will be interesting to see if they stay true to their word.
Perhaps University of Georgia President Michael Adams needs to take a long, hard look at the paycheck he takes home and if there is not enough funding for a program that means so much to young people in this state then perhaps he should look at a voluntary pay cut.
Where would I be today without the influence of 4-H? Where would I be today without the friends I made through the organization? Where would I be without the leaders who showed, through example, what it is like to be a community leader?
These are things you cannot put a price on. Some things are simply more valuable than money. The lessons learned through programs such as 4-H will stay with a young person for the rest of his or her life. How do I know? I can testify to it because I was a member. It’s something I’ve never forgotten. Those lessons learned decades ago are still with me.
I can only hope this talk of eliminating the program goes away. There’s already been too much time spent on this. Let’s end it now. Contact your elected officials at the state level and let them know programs such as 4-H do not, under any circumstance, need to be eliminated.
It means to much to students to be messed with. Stop this nonsense and stop it now.
Chris Bridges is editor of the Barrow Journal. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know that you are trying to be sarcastic, but after school activities try to help prevent the one thing that you are talking about. The need to pay for the punishment.
I always thought that the 4-H was sponsored by a private organization like Key Club or Interact. Even though this is sponsored by the state, it's still needed for the kids that realize that doing something (anything) is much better than doing nothing at all.
My point is why is that something that government needs to fund? Private industry and private citizens cannot perform law enforcement functions. That must be provided by the government. Let private industry, parents, non-profits pay for and run 4-H. This would be a perfect opportunity for example, for Farm Bureau to pitch in and sponsor 4-H. Spend the scarce tax money on things only the government can do and leave the rest to the private sector.