I want to thank each of you for your transition to the 4-H CONNECT system to manage 4-H enrollment, 4-H event registrations, etc. over the past few years. We have all learned about the system and you have trained your 4-H families to use this management system. Sometimes we have difficulty with change, however; through the last few years we have embraced the capabilities of this system. Most of you now expect your 4-H families to enroll for membership in 4-H and to register for 4-H events from their own computer. However, a few of you continue to use the “Green” enrollment form and then ask your support staff to enter the information into 4-H CONNECT.
As we move closer to the end of this current 4-H year and near the beginning of the 2011-2012 4-H year, it will be critical to have plans in place to handle 4-H enrollment and the new 4-H membership fees. Most of our 4-H families should be able to enter enrollment information and pay the membership fees directly through 4-H CONNECT on their home computer. However, if some families do not have computer access, then it will be important for you to work with them to use a computer at your office, at the local library, etc. to enroll on-line and submit the membership fees. The process must be as seamless as possible to maintain our current 4-H enrollment or increase the number of 4-H members.
Also, at the time, I am asking that you review your current enrollment and make sure all 4-H members are properly enrolled in 4-H CONNECT. By completing reviews at this time, you will develop an excellent database of 4-H members which can be used to monitor enrollments in the new 4-H year. If you notice that some youth are not enrolled at this time, then work with them to complete the enrollment process.
In addition, as the 4-H enrollment process progresses in September and October, it will be very important for you to monitor enrollment to make sure all age eligible 4-H members from 2010-2011 have re-enrolled in 4-H CONNECT. It will also be important to cross check 4-H membership with entries to Major Livestock Show, scholarship applications, award applications, etc. You do not want to be in a situation where a young person has entered and participated at a major livestock show and he or she has not enrolled in 4-H. Of course, with the 4-H CONNECT registration process, youth must be members in order to complete a registration for a 4-H event. You are ultimately responsible for making sure all 4-H members are enrolled and eligible to participate in events, shows, competitions, etc.
4-H enrollment is important to all of us, however; a high 4-H enrollment does not necessarily mean a high quality 4-H program. We must all work toward high 4-H enrollment and offer a variety of high quality learning opportunities, experiences, and events for our 4-H youth. Participation in 4-H events and activities will develop our youth for future leadership roles.
It is imperative that proper guidelines and procedures are followed for Texas 4-H enrollment and I’m confident that the county Extension agents in Southeast Texas will insure that their county enrollment is up to date and accurate.
Posted by: Dale A. Fritz, Ph.D., District Extension Administrator