Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on October 17, 2003. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
New emphasis on 4-H after-school programs
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- 4-H in Mississippi is renewing its emphasis on programs aimed to fill the free time youth have after school with fun and educational activities.
Mississippi State University's Extension 4-H Afterschool offers youth programs weekdays between 3 and 6 p.m. Nationally, 4-H has partnered with J.C. Penney and John Deere companies to offer more programs and new curricula to youth after school is out for the day.
Rae Wilkinson, Extension state 4-H specialist, said the national emphasis focuses on activities for youth during the 3 to 6 p.m. time period when children are alone while parents finish the workday.
"In Mississippi, we decided to promote 4-H Afterschool to improve existing programs after school and to encourage new ones to start," Wilkinson said. "We are enhancing the curricula offered and are supporting and training those who operate after-school programs. We also hope this renewed emphasis on after-school activities will prompt others to start their own programs."
The state has many organizations that offer after-school programs for youth at schools, extended day and recreational facilities, homes and churches. Many of these are 4-H clubs, and Wilkinson said she hopes that number grows.
"When you're looking at after-school activities, think about a 4-H club," she said.
In November, the state 4-H program will hold train-the-trainer sessions for all Extension 4-H agents. An eight-member Mississippi 4-H Afterschool State Team made up of 4-H agents and 4-H state leaders from both MSU and Alcorn State University will conduct the training.
"The team has worked hard to develop training for other agents to equip them for our renewed focus on after-school 4-H activities," said Christina Meriwether, a member of the 4-H Afterschool State Team. "This is a way to help our 4-H agents help their 4-H clubs."
Agents will receive training in marketing, staff development, programming, activities and evaluation methods. Many agents are already planning new or expanded programs that can be offered in the hours after school.