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The Limestone County Commission recognized Alabama Extension professionals for their outstanding service to the county’s 4-H program, and the county was awarded the status of being a 4-H Centennial Youth Initiative County March 30.

Dr. Paul Brown, Alabama Extension associate director, presented the County Commission Chairman and Limestone County Extension Coordinator Chris Becker with a Crystal Clover and medallions of excellence to each person on the 4-H team.

Limestone County is one of 22 Alabama counties recognized with CYI status.

“Our goal is to help every county earn the Centennial Youth Initiative designation and to have a full-time agent working in every county,” Brown added.

“Our program is as strong as it is because of community support and the support of our commissioners,” said Becker.

That sentiment was echoed by Brown. He pointed out that more than 1,200 children in Limestone County are enrolled in a variety of 4-H programs.

 In addition to the designation as a Centennial Youth Initiative (CYI) county, Limestone County was assigned a new full-time 4-H Foundation regional agent, Chloe Wilson. The Hartselle native and Samford University graduate began working at the Limestone County office in Athens March 1. Funding for the new agent is provided by Alabama Extension and the Alabama 4-H Foundation.

Dr. Gary Lemme, director of Alabama Extension, said the dedication that these Extension professionals have shown when working with 4-H in Calhoun County is very impressive.” “They have accomplished a lot and fully exemplify the standards of excellence that are set out for this award.”

The CYI program is committed to developing 4-H programs in order to increase access so that more youth can participate in the program, and to enhance 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 yout

·  Promoting plan-of-work development and teamwork at all levels

·  Aligning staff and position assignments to support program resources and delivery modes

Two Limestone County senior 4-H’ers spoke about the opportunities they received through 4-H. Rebekah Wood, a home-schooled student and Austin Lewter, a senior at Tanner High School, both praised 4-H and its administrators and thanked them for helping provide leadership and community service opportunities to them and other youths in the county.