UNION COUNTY — The local 4-H program will continue through most of 2014 after Union County Council provided the funding that lead to matching funds allocated by Clemson University.
The 4-H program in Union County is overseen by Anne Brock, County Extension Agent for the Clemson University Extension Service.
“I’m responsible for coordinating and organizing and conducting all 4-H programs in the county,” Brock said Monday. “I recruit adult volunteers to help with the 4-H programs.”
Those programs almost came to an end when Brock learned the funding for her position was being eliminated. Brock’s position is currently funded by the county through a Title III grant. The grant was scheduled to run out at the end of November which would have eliminated Brock’s position, effectively ending the 4-H program in Union County. She said this was where things stood until Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair came to her with a proposal that would have allowed her to continue working though with reduced hours.
“I got the call last Monday that there’d be no more Title III funding and that would have been it,” Brock said. “Then on Tuesday Tommy came and asked ‘What if we can fund you for 10 hours a week, could you continue?’ I said ‘Yes, I’ll work, I’ll do what I can in 10 hours.’”
Brock said the county’s offer to provide enough funding to enable her to continue working 10 hours of the 20 hours a week she currently works in turn spurred Clemson to fund the other 10 hours.
“When Clemson found out the county was willing to do this they came back with a match,” Brock said. “Clemson agreed to match that 10 hours through November 2014. That is keeping me at my current level of funding. This wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for the county.”
Sinclair said the funding the county will provide for what he called a “one-year solution” will be a combination of left over Title III funds and “continency salary funds” allocated by council. He said council decided to provide the funding in order keep the 4-H program going and serving the children of Union County.
“It serves over a thousand kids a year,” Sinclair said. “Because of state cutbacks the extension office was reorganized two years ago and it was about to be reorganized again and it was a strong chance the 4-H program would be lost in the shuffle.
“We identified almost enough funds to pay her (Brock) $12,000 for a 10-hour week and council agreed to supplement the rest ($300),” he said. “It’s a good program and this is another example of people contributing to help grow Union.”
Sinclair said that while the funding currently allocated will just keep the program going through November 2014, he hopes that council will be able to factor the 4-H program into the 2014-2015 budget.
Brock described the 4-H program as “a hands-on learning experience” for children through the various clubs sponsored by the program. Those clubs include:
• 4-H County-Wide Club which meets at the Union Extension Office the second Saturday of each month. The 4-H program guide describes it as “a general 4-H club with a variety of programs offered throughout the year, including shooting sports, archery, rocketry Lego robotics, small animals and dogs.” The club is open to youths ages 5-19.
• 4-H Livestock Club and Livestock Projects which also meets at the Union Extension Office. The club, which is also open to youths ages 5-19, offers one-on-one help for young people interested in participating in 4-H livestock events or judging (beef cows, dairy cows, goats, and others).
• 4-H Garden Club which the guide describes as a “short-term club” that meets for six weeks in the spring “to teach youth how to grow a vegetable garden. Youth are automatically entered in the State 4-H Garden Project, and are eligible to compete for local and state awards.”
• 4-H K-9 Dog Club which is also a short-term club. The club begins in January and is open to youth ages 5-19 “who love dogs and want to learn about them.” Club members “will learn basic dog obedience, agility course work, community service projects, and participate in local dog shows.”
• Union County 4-H Teen Council which meets quarterly at the Clemson Extension Office. Council activities include “4-H Exhibit at Tractor Show, 4-H Exhibit at the County Fair, Leadership, Winter Retreat, 4-H Ambassador, State 4-H Congress, and lots of service projects.” The council is open to youths in grades 6-12.
• 4-H Shooting Sports which meets monthly at the Clemson Extension/Flower Building. The club is open to youths ages 5-19 who “learn gun safety and are eligible to particpate in local and state 4-H shooting events.” Club members are trained using BB guns by trained and certified leaders.
• 4-H Poultry Club which meets the third Thursday of the month at the Clemson Extension Office. The club, which is for ages 5-19, teaches participants about poultry and enables them to participate the 4-H Pullet Project. Club members “learn showmanship and attend pullet shows.”
In addition to the clubs, 4-H offers school programs, animal and outdoor projects, wildlife projects, and, in the summer, camps and day camps.
For more information contact Union County 4-H, Clemson Extension Service, 129 Kirby St. Union, at 864-427-6259.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com