For a while, it wasn't clear if kids in King County would be able to learn about farming and animals through 4-H anymore as the program had lost its funding in King County for this year and they were not taking new members.
However, County Executive Dow Constantine had been open in his support for restoring funding to the program. In early fall, the County Council passed the relevant budget addendum for that funding, and word got out that 4-H was once again enrolling new members.
This past week, King County 4-H reported on its Facebook page that Constantine had signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Washington State University to support King County Extension and 4-H for five years beginning in 2013.
"I'm so excited we can offer programs to people again," said WSU King County 4-H educator Nancy Baskett. 4-H can now expand its membership and grow new clubs as resources allow, she said.
She credits all the supporters of 4-H for helping to lobby lawmakers to continue supporting the program. Moving forward and beyond the five year commitment from King County, 4-H is looking to gather support not only from county government and WSU, but from various entities within King County, she said.
Though 4-H has historically been known for programs working with animals, there is much more to it, Baskett said. The agreement with the county will guide 4-H's refocusing on programs that promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) along with robotics and even the arts, she said. (Click here to read more about WSU and King County's 4-H Youth Development overview.)
"We're up, recruiting and growing and we're open for business," Baskett said.
However, "to meet the needs of people who want to join, we need community volunteers."
For those interesting in enrolling or in volunteering to start up a club, you can contact Baskett at 253-224-2884 or firstname.lastname@example.org.