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King County Executive proposes $100,000 to continue 4-H youth programs


King County Executive Dow Constantine has sent the King County Council a supplemental budget request for $100,000 to continue support for 4-H youth programs in King County through 2012.


Broader strategic relationship with Washington State University sought to leverage resources over the long term

King County Executive Dow Constantine has sent the King County Council a supplemental budget request for $100,000 to continue support for 4-H youth programs in King County through 2012.

“More than 10,000 young people in King County gain valuable life experiences through 4-H, and this funding will keep the program going in collaboration with our partners at WSU Extension,” said Executive Constantine.

The proposed ordinance would add $100,000 of General Fund support for continuation of such 4-H youth programs as raising rabbits, horse riding, photography, county fair exhibitions, cooking, public speaking and much more. It would also re-appropriate $16,000 of funding from last year for WSU.

“For 96 years, Washington State University has partnered with King County to provide a variety of extension education and outreach services to residents throughout King County,” said Randy Baldree, Interim Associate Director of WSU Extension. “This funding would ensure continuation of the King County 4-H Youth Development program and nutrition education programs, and provide a strong framework for other WSU Extension programs in agriculture, natural resources, health and wellness, and economic development to continue.”

The WSU 4-H Program is intended to promote life-long success through experiential learning, leadership development and community service.  Its youth development programs teach life skills with the goals of reducing high risk behaviors, improving academic performance, and creating the foundations for future leadership and citizenship.
“4-H programs are important for the development of rural, urban and suburban youth,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “The programs are valuable in developing youth leadership in food and land and water sustainability. Addressing the needs of youth, especially in the rural areas, is an important aspect of King County’s equity and social justice plan.”
“Young people all over the county have an opportunity to learn important life skills through 4-H programs,” ” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who represents northeast King County. “The ability to participate in activities at the county level can qualify them for statewide competition. Youth agriculture programs offered by 4-H also help grow the farmers of tomorrow that will produce our food in the future.”

“4-H youth programs have played an important role in the lives of many young people throughout King County,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who represents southeast King County.  “I am pleased that Executive Constantine has proposed this much needed funding to keep these programs going into the future.”

“As the father of young twins, I understand the value and importance of programs like 4-H that promote youth development,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson. “I am pleased the Executive is proposing to continue King County’s long-standing support for 4-H as we work to develop sustainable long-term funding.”

The funding for 4-H will go toward a variety of activities – things like nutrition, plant sciences, horse riding, robotics, environmental stewardship and photography. With the support it receives from King County, the 4-H program can leverage additional funding.

“4-H instills valuable lessons for kids, making them great lifelong citizens and environmental stewards,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “Keeping these programs available in King County is great for our community.”

"Restoring financial support for the 4-H Club is beneficial for all of King County, particularly South King County youth,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “This valuable organization has more than just an agricultural focus. For many young people in rural, suburban, and urban communities around King County, 4-H provides much-needed programs in science, leadership, personal, and community development, and healthy living. I believe the services that 4-H provides are critical to the development of youth within our county, and that maintaining funding for the organization is within the best interest of the residents of our region." 

King County and WSU Extension are currently working on a broader strategic relationship to develop long-term funding for 4-H, and to leverage resources and achieve the shared goals of both organizations. Examples of such a partnership could include:

  • collaborating on programs that improve nutritional well-being for residents and promote local food systems;
  • sharing applied research that benefits residents and the natural environment;
  • supporting the regional aerospace industry, and;
  • contributing to social equity and family asset building.
The supplemental budget request must be approved by the King County Council.