WINNSBORO — The face of Fairfield County 4-H has changed. Angela Jones started work March 21 as the 4-H Youth and Development Agent for Fairfield County and although the face has changed, the organization’s mission remains the same.
One goal Jones has is increased partnership between 4-H and the Fairfield County School District.
She believes there is a tremendous need in Fairfield County for youth development.
“I’m excited to work with them for summer day camps,” she said. “Our goal is to definitely try to send the summer with a big youth field day.”
Jones and her supervisor expect she will spend a large percentage of time in schools working with teachers to incorporate 4-H into the regular curriculum. For instance, if a science class is studying embryology, she could provide them with eggs they could watch hatch.
“Teachers can contact our office to learn how to incorporate our programs into their lessons,” she said.
Ideas include food and nutrition work shops, a lesson on hand washing and bacteria, and more. The lessons address the five parts to 4-H: science and technology, natural resources, healthy lifestyles, personal/youth development, and agriculture.
More than cows and cooking
Gone are the days when 4-H was all about cows and cooking.
She points out that 4-H is for girls and boys, about Colin Powell and how 4-H influenced his career as a general and about the science and technology parts to make agriculture even more relevant to today’s tech savvy teens and ‘tweens.
Senior 4-H’ers can receive scholarships through their 4-H portfolios. During the years youth are in 4-H, they keep a scrapbook and if they apply for scholarships they write about leadership, community service, and project works.
They also can mention trips to the national 4-H event the National Congress. The National Congress features winners of state level competitions at the State Congress, which this year is being held in Clemson from July 17 through July 20.
Jones said there have been winners from Fairfield County in the past and she looks forward to helping more winners arise over the years.
A 4-H Health Rocks program also is in the works using a nationally standardized curriculum for elementary and middle school students. Jones said the curriculum is geared toward educating children about the harmful effects of smoking, drugs and alcohol.
One object lesson includes having children breathe through a big straw 60 second, then a regular size straw and finally a coffee stirrer for 60 seconds while they do jumping jacks or walk in place. The lack of oxygen gives them an example of what a long term problem smoking can become.
Her focus group right now will be on youth age 8-14, particularly with the message about dangers of substance abuse.
She hopes to become more involved with the Chameleon After School Program and Vanessa Hollins as well.
More volunteers are needed. She would love to have more parent involvement as well. She hopes to work out a partnership with the school district for providing transportation in this rural county. Provided transportation can be obtained, Jones plans for summer field trips and day camps.
4-H holds volunteer training from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. on May 14 in Columbia at the Sandhill Office at 900 Clemson Road. The Health Rocks training is free and the curriculum and supplies are free, too. Jones said it is good programming for science teachers and Vacation Bible School teachers.
The mother of two teenagers, Jones has served on the school improvement council and as an officer in the PTSO. She also has experience working with youth in volunteer church settings and she helped with a High School Step Team at Ridgeview High School.
Her Delta Sigma Theta sorority also does community service with youths in Richland County, such as etiquette training, youth development, self esteem building and teaching young ladies how to be young ladies.
Jones is a mom re-entering the work force. She earned an undergraduate degree in business administration from Benedict College and a dual master’s degree from Webster University in Human Resources Management and Development.
Although her position is a part-time position, Jones can devote all of her hours to one area. She focuses entirely on Fairfield County unlike many of her counterparts throughout the state who cover multiple counties.