Leaders with the youth development program known as 4-H are trying to expand services in Homer.
The 4 H’s in the name represent head, heart, hands and health. And there’s even a pledge that members recite at the start of each meeting or event. There’s at least one 4-H group in Homer at the moment. It’s a horse club. But University of Alaska Fairbanks 4-H and Youth Development Agent Jason Floyd wants to see more groups pop up on the southern peninsula. And he knows that when most people hear 4-H, they think cows, chickens and hogs.
“I’ve made it my mission to let people know that 4-H is more than animals,” Floyd said.
He said there are shooting programs, orienteering, public speaking, aerospace, the list goes on and on. Floyd said there are a number of organizations in Homer that are working toward the same goal of providing an outlet for youth.
“I’m bringing the 4-H model to you today as a suggested vehicle for taking some of those efforts and bringing them together in a collaborative way with the time-tested structure that hopefully will bring greater focus and greater outcomes to everyone who is doing something with kids,” he said.
Floyd said Homer was actually the birthplace of 4-H in Alaska in the 1930s. But due to issues with state funding, the regional offices became more centralized. That meant the 4-H representative moved up to Soldotna and clubs in Homer gradually broke up.
Floyd said using the resources through the Cooperative Extension Service to assist programs within the Boys and Girls Club or R.E.C. Room could make those services better. He also said if anyone has an idea for a club, all they need is the time and $6.50 to pay for the background check.
“The only way that the program can exist is on the backs of altruistically motivated volunteers,” he said.
More 4-H’ers will be in Homer again this weekend. There is a Public Presentation and Educational Display Day at Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center on Saturday March 16. Members from across the Kenai Peninsula will be presenting. It starts at 10 a.m. and goes until 5 p.m.