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4-H in the Community

The following is the sixh in a series of Odessa File columns from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County relating to ongoing CCE educational activities and offerings.

By Lisa Shrout,
4-H Program Educator

Generosity, Mastery, Belonging and Independence; these are the four pieces that create the beauty of the 4-H Youth Development program. As a professional working in the 4-H program today, my passion for the program stems from knowing these to be the cornerstone to success of our young people today.

4-H has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It all started in a small club in Alpine, NY in the mid 1970’s where you had to be eight years old to join a club. Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program now has a Cloverbud program that starts with youth as early as age five. What I remember fondly was our amazing club leader and that she taught us the most wonderful things; we learned to sew, decorate cakes, balance a checkbook, take care of our pets, and so much more. I don’t think we realized as kids that we were also learning to be responsible, to be leaders and to think for ourselves. We also learned the importance of community outreach. Perhaps the most important thing we learned was how to be an asset to ourselves, our family, and our community. Today, in my role as a 4-H educator, I work to be the person that I saw role modeled to me, and to provide our youth with fun, relevant, and challenging projects.

Community is what I want to focus on in this article. Everyone belongs to a community; it gives us a sense of fellowship with the people around us. It makes us feel supported and creates an understanding of belonging. Our community is as strong as we make it, and one of the best ways to strengthen your community is through positive youth development. As much as 4-H is the youth development program of the Cornell Cooperative Extension system, we also have other community organizations that support positive youth development through our partnership with the REACH 21st Century Learning Consortium with both the Odessa-Montour School and the Watkins Glen Schools. This is a program designed to offer the area youth extra help with homework, fun and educational activities, parent nights, field trips, and more. CCE also partners with the Department of Social Services (DSS) on a contract basis to make the Family Play and Resource Center (FPRC) available, which is funded through the United Way and the Triangle fund. This facility provides a safe and happy place to bring your children to play. They offer some staffed hours to help parents find and utilize resources around the area, activities, and community outreach events.

This is a community rich with great organizations doing important work helping to teach our children positive values and the meaning of community. We here at CCE are proud of the work we do with 4-H and our community partners, and wish you all the very best of holidays for 2018. If there are classes or topics you’d like to see CCE and our 4-H program offer in 2019, we hope you’ll let us know. In the meantime, keep an eye on our Facebook page ( and don’t hesitate to contact us. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Photo in text: Lisa Shrout (Photo provided)


For the first column in this series, click here.
For the second column in this series, click here.
For the third column in this series, click here.

For the fourth column in this series, click here.
For the fifth column in this series, click here.


© The Odessa File 2018
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869