Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Changing Times Call for Changing Strategies

By Luis H. Saldaña (l-saldana@tamu.edu)

Winston Churchill was recorded as stating, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.” While some change slips in by cover of darkness, it is the more obvious change that grabs our attention. Some jump in with both feet while others are dragged into change, kicking and screaming. Changing demographics, economic challenges nationally and statewide and even locally can have a great impact on our 4-H program. It is those that take change and find those unique opportunities to turn them into growth and improvement that make them special. A recent report on 4-H enrollment in District 12 reflects that 4-H club membership grew 11% and other 4-H youth programs grew 10%. That is certainly change in the right direction, despite all those other challenges. This is a testament to the quality of 4-H programs across the district, and you are the reason for that change. The quality of 4-H members, parents, volunteers and county Extension agents is fundamental in the success of your program. People want to be associated with a great program, a successful one, and one that builds young people into true leaders…not for the future, NOW!

Over 58,000 youth, including over 4,800 4-H club members, across the district are what makes your program GREAT! The volunteers, parents and county Extension agents are what keep it moving which speaks volumes for what each contributes to its success. Changing times call for changing strategies and you have found those things that work To Make the Best Better!
...You Rock!

This is the first in a series of quarterly briefs for the entire 4-H family in the 20-county district (District 12). Changes in how we share information, learn, train, and experience the 4-H program add challenges in bridging an ever-growing need to stay connected. The 4-H program in D12 has been working with its newly elected District 12 4‑H Council officers to bridge strengthen the bridge and network across the district. The newly designed D12 4-H website (http://d124-h.tamu.edu/) has a clean look that is easy to navigate. New features include a dedicated page to community service, photo and video galleries, and a new “social networking” approach. Research shows that adults use the internet, blogs, and email to communicate. Teenagers, on the other hand, use SMS and MMS (texting), social networking, and other technologies to stay connected, but almost exclusively through phone technology. Herein lies the challenge. How do we keep everyone plugged in when they choose to use different technology to do so? Our approach is to add Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, and YouTube channels as a form of keeping connected. Follow, sign-up, register, and watch D12 4-H by any of these to stay connected…try it and let us know. Send me a note (l-saldana@tamu.edu) about any of our posts, videos, tweets, or any of our other strategies to keep you informed. We want to hear from you.

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