NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The 4H program is known nationwide for developing young people to become strong leaders. Ironically, many Texas clubs lost their adult leadership a couple of years ago.
"Trying times so to speak because we went through some state level budget cuts," said Jamie Sugg, the Texas Agrilife agent.
4Her Jodie Nichols experienced the consequences. She's been in 4H for eight years and has the ribbons to prove it.
Jodie and several friends came back winners, but competition just wasn't the same without a full-time leader.
"Back when I was younger, 9, 10, 11, we had a lot of kids," Nichols said. "I mean there were so many kids and ever since she left we kinda went downhill. We had very few in the last couple of years."
That may change.
"We're re-building," said Claudann Jones, the county's 4H coordinator. "We're re-growing."
Renewed state funding brings Jones to Nacogdoches County Agrilife. The new 4H coordinator wants to build membership up to and beyond its past number.
"We have food, fashion, photography," Jones said. "If the children want to livestock and that's where Jamie comes in, my co-worker Jamie Sugg. Whatever your likes and interests are, 4H helps to build and grow upon that."
Nichols is training a one-year-old colt for next year's 4H competition. She's influencing younger ones along the way.
"I hope for it to just grow," Nichols said. "Want more kids to get involved in it. I mean, it's a great organization to be in. It's fun."
Nacogdoches County has a 4H membership roundup scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 5 from 4 p.m.to 6 p.m. at the Agrilife office in the courthouse annex.