March 5, 1999 | By: Mark Eclov

A nation-wide search for 4-H alumni is underway to locate former members who can re-connect with today's kids and provide them with 4-H opportunities, just as their parent's generation did for them.

The effort is being bolstered by the J.C. Penney Company according to Dick Sauer, President of the National 4-H council.

During the month of March, the company will put a statement on all their credit card mailings asking 4-H Alumni to re-establish contact with 4-H by calling a toll free phone number (1-800-651-9800) or by accessing the National 4-H council's official web site (www.fourhcouncil.edu).

Both contact points will give 4-H Alumni a chance to identify where they are now, how 4-H has affected their life and give them the opportunity to know what is going on in today's 4-H program. Names of Kentucky respondents will be sent back to the appropriate county and state by the National 4-H council.

"It is estimated that more than 45 million Americans have been a part of 4-H over the past 90 years," said Martha Welch, Extension Associate for 4-H and Youth Development in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

4-H alumni may become re-engaged with 4-H as donors or volunteers. While financial Extension support is critical, finding time for the kids is even more important.

"When volunteers join with the local agent, the impact and involvement of youth grows. That's where the real reward begins... volunteers interacting in meaningful ways with youth," said Welch.

She referred to a study done by the Search Institute where 273,000 youth were surveyed. The study findings suggest that the difference between troubled youth and those leading positive and productive lives was strongly affected by the presence of thirty "developmental assets."

The top three assets related to family and friends, and the next two referred to "other adults." The youth said they needed other adults, besides their parents, that they could turn to for support and advice.

"The study's bottom line showed that what kids really need is adults who care. 4-H provides the framework where that can happen," said Welch. "We need alumni to step forward and reach out to this generation. It's hoped this search will be a big step in that direction."

 

Contact: 

Writer: Mark Eclov
(606)-257-7223

Source: Martha Welch
(606)-257-5961