TAVARES – 4-H is not what it used to be. Just ask Lake County’s new 4-H agent Rachel Fautsch, who explains that while agriculture, horticulture and livestock remain an integral part of the more than 100-year-old program, robotics, STEM and consumer affairs have become equally as important.
A Minnesota native who has worked as a 4-H agent in Georgia and Marion County, Fautsch is eager to get the word out about 4-H – both its rural and urban benefits - and hopes to gain more attention for the program.
“It is my goal to increase high school participation,” Fautsch said, noting that while 4-H is open to youth ages 5-18, only 3 percent of participants are high school students.
To accomplish this goal, Fautsch plans to head into Lake County schools, and recruit even more adult volunteers as mentors.
“We have a fantastic volunteer base in Lake County,” Fautsch said. “It is one of the strongest and most well-maintained in the state."
In her new role, Fautsch will be interacting with the citizens, students, volunteers and community organizations to drum up support for 4-H.
“Rachel is sure to be an asset to this long-revered program, and will quickly become widely recognized within the community,” said Juanita Popenoe, Lake County Extension Director, UF/IFAS Extension in Lake County.
4-H is America's largest non-formal educational program for youth, annually reaching approximately 6.5 million young people. The educational programs help children develop inquiring minds, learn practical skills, strengthen decision-making abilities, improve communications and interpersonal relationships, and ultimately share their skills and experience in leadership roles. In the Florida 4-H program, youth are provided opportunities for awards, trips and scholarships.
To find out more about Lake County 4-H, log on to http://lake.ifas.ufl.edu/4-h or email Fautsch at firstname.lastname@example.org.