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Alabama Extension professionals in Shelby County were recognized August 10 at a Shelby County Commission meeting for their outstanding service to enhancing the county’s 4-H program.

At the county commission meeting, Dr. Gary Lemme, director of Alabama Extension, presented the Shelby County Extension team with a Crystal Clover which symbolizes the county’s Centennial Youth Initiative status.

The Alabama 4-H Club Foundation provides funding for CYI counties to have a full-time 4-H Foundation Regional Extension Agent who will work specifically to further develop the county's 4-H programming. Shelby County is one of 12 counties in Alabama to be awarded the status of a Centennial Youth Initiative county. Other counties include: Baldwin, Bibb, Cherokee, Dale, Escambia, Etowah, Fayette, Marion, Mobile, Pike and Washington.
“The goal is to make a positive impact in the lives of young people and this award will further enhance our ability achieve that goal,” said Ricky Colquitt, Shelby County Extension Coordinator. “Having a full time 4-H Foundation Agent will make a huge impact on the number of 4-H youth activities we can offer as well as the number of youth we can reach.”
The Centennial Youth Initiative is committed to developing 4-H programs in order to increase access to the learning experiences that are available to youth in Alabama. The award is based on the following standards of excellence in Alabama 4-H programming:
  • Forming a unified Alabama 4-H team and program
  • Utilizing consistent research-based curriculum resources
  • Diversifying delivery modes tailored to today's youth
  • Promoting plan-of-work development and teamwork at all levels
  • Aligning staff and position assignments to support program resources and delivery modes

“The Shelby County extension team has gone above and beyond in upholding these standards of excellence,” said Lemme. “The dedication that they have shown is apparent in the lives of youth and I am confident that the 4-H programs in Shelby will grow even more in the next year.”

 Colquitt stated that there are 327 youth enrolled in 4-H and more than 900 in group enrollment activities. Shelby County hopes to grow the number of in-school clubs in the upcoming year.
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Laurin Bell, 4-H Youth Council and state ambassador; Charity Battles, 4-H Foundation agent; Dr. Gary Lemme, director of Alabama Extension; Robbie Willis, administrative associate; Ricky Colquitt, Shelby County Extension coordinator; Adeline Quintana, 4-H agent assistant and Brianna Fuchs, 4-H Youth Council and state ambassador.