Nacogdoches Co. 4-H struggling with budget restraints

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Eleven-year-old Asha Fuller of Garrison leads her goat, Lady, in preparation for the next 4-H competition. Along the way, the animal pulls back, in the same fashion that budget restraints tug on the 4-H program.

"Across the state of Texas we had some budget cuts in 2010 and it did affect lots of counties," Agrilife agent Chad Gulley said.

In Nacogdoches County an Agrilife agent, whose primary duties included 4-H leadership, was cut from the budget. The entire Agrilife staff has always played a major role in youth programs, but now the responsibilities are much more.

"The program is going to continue," Gulley said. "You try to work with volunteers, try to work with your club leaders and that type thing to try to make the program continue."

Asha's mom, a former 4-H member herself, has two other children waiting in the wings to take the 4-H oath.

"Involvement is extremely important and to support the kids and help with all their projects," volunteer Laurie Fuller said.

Important because the program is building the leaders of tomorrow. It's working for Asha who has a favorite part of being in 4-H.

"Leadership," Asha said. "I like feeling important."

"The quality I noticed is mainly the want to, the drive and striving to do better all the time," Agrilife agent Crispen Skinner said.

Next week, members will learn not how to feed goats, but how to feed hundreds of people at a 4-H fish fry. The show season starts next month. The fundraiser will help clubs with expenses.

Each step along the way Asha helps Lady learn what's expected. With community support, 4-H can do the same for generations of kids to come.

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