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State 4-H Organization Seeks Alumni, Friends
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's 4-H program is looking for more than youth. It's looking for 4-H alumni and adults who appreciate the value of its educational activities.
Morris Houston, development officer for the Mississippi 4-H Foundation, said 4-H is improving its accessibility to individuals and business leaders wanting to support youth activities through the Mississippi 4-H Alumni and Friends Program.
"We are looking for charter members for this new organization dedicated to the youth of today and the future," Houston said. "While young people usually enjoy growing up, 4-H is one of those great experiences that they hate to leave behind. The alumni and friends program means you can stay connected no matter how old you are."
Funds raised through memberships will go to defray basic costs of out-of-state travel for youth activities and to support the state and local 4-H programs.
"You can join as soon as you age out of 4-H at 19. Memberships for college students are free. After that, annual dues range from $25 for volunteer leaders to $250 for corporate members," Houston said.
Mississippi has more than 72,000 young people involved in various 4-H clubs and educational programs. About half of these young people represent ethnic minorities and half are female. Even though 4-H began as an organization for farm kids, only 10 percent of today's members live on farms.
"Mississippi's 4-H program has taken the values long associated with our rural society and incorporated them into programs that meet the needs and interests of young people everywhere," Houston said. "Community service projects and educational activities continue to be important for 4-Hers, as well as new programs like the Field and Stream program."
Houston said as the interests of youth have changed over the years, and so must the 4-H programs.
"The next millennium will bring even more diversity to the 4-H program. We are taking input from club members, past and present, and from adults as we prepare new curricula," Houston said. "Mississippi's 4-H Alumni and Friends Program will be a key to staying in touch with the needs of youth in our state."
The theme of the organizational campaign for charter members is "The Power of YOUth."
"We really believe our strength lies in our alumni and friends as well as the present 4-H members," Houston said.
For more information, write the Mississippi 4-H Alumni and Friends Program, Box 9641, Mississippi State, MS 39762 or contact the special hotline at 1-877-CLUBS4H.