College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences; Public Service and Agriculture

4-H’ers flock to state capital to share stories with lawmakers


COLUMBIA, S.C. — This year’s South Carolina 4-H Legislative Day was themed “Paint the Capital Green,” and with more than 450 attendees wearing the organization’s signature hue on the State House steps March 5, it was clear to see that mission had been accomplished.

State Rep. Patrick Haddon, who serves on the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee and represents Greenville County, emphasized to the young people that their presence was important to lawmakers such as himself.

“We need your help; we need more ag supporters,” Haddon said.

While 4-H began with an emphasis on agriculture when it started in 1902, and then 1908 in South Carolina, as the nation has transitioned from a largely agrarian society to one that is more urban and suburban, the organization has adapted accordingly to continue to serve America’s young people.

South Carolina legislators Sen. Mike Fanning, Sen. Danny Verdin and Rep. Patrick Haddon pose for a selfie with 4-H’ers gathered on the State House steps.

But 4-H has also not lost sight of its agricultural roots, and this year’s crowd represented an increase of about 50% from the attendance at Legislative Day just 5 years earlier, indicating that the help Haddon spoke of is on the way.

“I want to let you know how much it matters for you all to be here,” Haddon said. “If you’re not doing it — no one is. Whatever you’re learning or whatever your interest is in 4-H, it will build your leadership skills, it will give you more tools in your toolbox later — and that’s why it matters so much. Stay involved.”

Legislative Day gives young people with an opportunity to share their personal 4-H stories with legislators and discuss the benefits of local Clemson University Cooperative Extension programming in their home communities.

Sen. Mike Fanning and Sen. Danny Verdin also shared words of encouragement with the 4-H’ers gathered on the State House steps before they made their way inside the chambers to see the lawmakers in action.

America’s largest youth development organization, 4‑H is delivered in all 50 states through Cooperative Extension — a network of more than 100 public universities, such as Clemson in South Carolina, charged by Congress with bringing the knowledge and resources of the university to the people of their state.

State 4-H Leader Ashley Burns said the organization’s goal remained to offer experiences where young people learn by doing and discover new possibilities for their future.

We need to prepare young people with the skills and abilities to be ready for work and life.


“We use a research-based, holistic approach to work with young people and volunteers who support young people to have the best outcomes possible,” Burns said. “With South Carolina 4-H, we’re only scratching the surface of what we can do in creating learning opportunities for the youth of our state.”

That means 4-H has something for everyone no matter what they are interested in or where they live. To find out more about what 4-H has to offer or to get involved, contact your local county 4-H extension agent or visit the South Carolina 4-H home page

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