“Affirmative Action” evokes varying opinions and emotions for many people. In the world of 4-H, the principles of Affirmative Action are implemented for the purposes of including and welcoming all youth, no matter their backgrounds, within county and statewide 4-H programming.
Polk County 4-H does not use quotas or limit participation of kids based on race, ethnicity, skin color, nationality, or gender (or any other factor). 4-H agents and volunteers monitor the participation of youth to ascertain whether club membership and participation reflects the diversity of Polk’s communities. When there isn’t a balance between the two, staff and volunteers reach out to communities to encourage participation of diverse youth.
The Essential Elements of 4-H (https://4-h.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/TheEssentialElementsof4HYouthDevelopment.pdf) include Belonging, which is the most essential in a child’s or parent’s decision to participate in 4-H. Everyone wants to feel welcome and accepted into a group, and the 4-H club setting is a prime place to create an atmosphere of acceptance. And with the unparalleled opportunities and choices available for youth in the 4-H program, kids from every demographic and neighborhood can benefit in life-changing ways.
Even tech giant Google has recognized that 4-H has the potential to reach diverse youth in unique ways. In August 2017, National 4-H Council and Google announced a new partnership to support youth in learning computer science in preparation for the world of work: http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/11/technology/google-4h-diversity/index.html.
4-H has the capacity to serve every community, every youth. To learn more, visit http://florida4h.org/blog/why-our-work-matters/.