Members of 4-H, or “4-H’ers,” from across South Carolina will converge on the Statehouse Tuesday.
They want to share with legislators their success stories from participation in the program to encourage lawmakers to keep funding for the program in the state budget.
“The mission of 4-H day is to connect 4-H’ers with their local legislators and for 4-H’ers to tell their 4-H story and how 4-H has impacted their life,” South Carolina 4-H Specialist at Clemson University Katie Shaw said. “Part of our funding comes from the state budget as through Clemson Extension and PSA. So it’s important for legislators to make that connection that 4-H’ers and the impact that we’re making is benefited by how they help us out with the budget.”
They also plan to ask for money to expand the Pinckney Leadership Conference, which is named after former State Sen. Clementa Pinckney. Pinckney was killed in the 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Pinckney was a member of 4-H.
“That’s a big ask for us in the 4-H budget this year and we hope legislators support it,” Shaw said. “We have a lot of youth coming who benefited and can tell great stories of how they’ve gained leadership skills and new opportunities and even a new outlook on life through this program,” Shaw said.
Any student can participate in 4-H, regardless of their personal life in agriculture.
“We’re more than just cows and plows,” Shaw said. “We still have those traditional agriculture roots, but we also offer things like healthy lifestyles and science and leadership skills that often kids don’t get in the classroom at school.”