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Advisory Committees – Youth/Adult Partnerships to Support 4-H

In Orange County 4-H, we use advisory committees to advise and support the 4-H Agents. These committees are composed of both adults and youth and have no formal legal responsibility, but instead help Agents with decision-making. This partnership provides leadership opportunities that bring unique knowledge, skills and help for specific programs to more effectively guide our organization. The members also play an important public relations role and provide program staff with subject area knowledge and perspective on programmatic issues.

Our program specific advisory committees are members appointed by the clubs, and the committee has a clear purpose and guidelines for participation in the program. All advisory committee have by-laws based on the Orange County 4-H Association guidelines, and committees have representation on the Association board.

Because Orange County 4-H is a volunteer based youth organization, adults work in partnership with young people on issues facing youth and/or programs and policies affecting youth. When adults share the power of decision-making with youth, it means that the adult is recognizing the assets youth bring to the table. Due the difference of generations, adult and youth may need to adapt to working together and to embracing change in order for the partnership to work, recognizing their weaknesses and strengths, as well limitations and realities of their specific age group.

It is the job of the 4-H Agent to facilitate the work on these partnerships to make sure the program runs smoothly and is in alignment with local, state and federal guidelines. Currently, Orange County 4-H has three major advisory committees: Horse, Robotics and Livestock. In the last seven years, Orange County 4-H Agents have used the support, knowledge and skills of these project advisory committees to help make appropriate decisions for our local program.

For those interested in serving with our youth development organization, we have multiple volunteer opportunities available. Please contact me at pardoe@ufl.edu to make a difference today!