CAIRO — This Sunday marks the beginning of National 4-H Week, and the Grady County Board of Commissioners is marking the occasion by honoring the local 4-H Youth Development program.
Commission chair LaFaye Copeland read a proclamation aloud Tuesday morning which thanked the 4-H program for having assisted in youth development for the past 115 years.
The statement proclaimed the youth of Grady County as the community’s greatest natural resource, and said that 4-H has helped cultivate young citizens by encouraging civic engagement through educational and entertaining programs.
Agent Deron Rehberg said this year has been one of the most successful for the Grady County 4-H program in his tenure.
Three members of the Grady County program attended the 4-H State Congress in Atlanta this July, all of whom returned as masters.
Rehberg said becoming a master 4-H’er is the ultimate goal of program participants.
“It means you won at the state level of the project you’re participating in,” he said. “It’s what they all strive for.”
Five members of the Grady County program represented seven masters total at that night’s banquet.
“We’re awful proud of this group,” Rehberg said. “I don’t know of another time that we’ve had this many Master event winners in Grady County. It’s been a pretty awesome year.”
Meanwhile, the 4-H hippology program, led by volunteer coach Emily Andrews, is entering its third year.
The program, which Rehberg described as “everything horse,” is coming off back-to-back first place finishes in state competition the past two years.
“They went up to the state hippology contest in their first year out the gate just to see what was what and came back with a first place win,” Rehberg said. “Then they went back last year and backed it up with another first place win.”
Between 450-550 children are involved in the Grady County 4-H program each year, Rehberg said. About 45-50 percent of those children are “active” and regularly participate in activities outside of school.
Working alongside Rehberg in the Grady County program are fellow agent Lisa Pollock and program assistant Ashley Ladner.