The good news about 4-H is spreading! Over the past four months, the Baltimore County 4-H Program Assistant, Anna McGucken, has been reaching out to schools, libraries, REC centers, and PAL centers in order to improve our partnerships with these groups. We have specifically targeted these groups because many of them already offer quality youth development programs, many of which are seeking out support in STEM, healthy living, and citizenship curriculum. UME and 4-H’s goal is to foster the development of strong, stable communities by reaching out to all groups and providing quality training in research-based knowledge from the university. Therefore, the partnership that 4-H is building with various organizations in the community is one that is developing naturally, as each group sees the unique strengths and assets that can be gained through partnership.
Over the past four months, we have connected with 16 new organizations! Many of these organizations are interested in setting up afterschool programs, organizing educational field trips to the Ag center, starting 4-H school enrichment programs, and assisting with promotion of various 4-H activities such as the county fair and camps.
There are many different ways that these partnerships are growing and expanding. Some partnerships have been initiated by 4-H volunteers or parents themselves. When an adult sees the positive impact that 4-H is having on their own child and community, they are eager to become more involved and share this opportunity with more youth that they know. We depend on our members and volunteers to share the good news about 4-H throughout their networks. This helps us to develop programs that address the needs and support as many families as possible. A huge thanks to those of you who have helped 4-H in this capacity!!
Some of our other partnerships that have developed are from more formal outreach and training programs. Through our first ever Baltimore County 4-H Open House in February, we were able to showcase the 4-H programs to the community. We had teachers, parents, county employees, and local businesses owners attend, many of whom had no prior exposure to 4-H programming but have since then expressed interest in joining or partnering. Another huge thank you to those of you who attended the 4-H open house and took the time to share about your 4-H experiences, it really does make a difference! We have also reached out to new 4-H partners by scheduling meetings with school boards, PTAs, STEM department chairs, library directors, PAL directors, and REC center coordinators. Through these events, we educate community members about 4-H’s mission, education philosophy, and opportunities as well as highlight the key ways in which our organizations can collaborate to create a generation of youth and adults who are able to work together as catalysts for positive change.
Together we are helping to grow 4-H in Baltimore County! Thank you for your continued support in this area and for always striving to make the best better. If you know of an organization or someone in the community that might be interested in pursuing 4-H programming, please let us know!
Written by Anna McGucken
4-H Program Assistant