Over the past year, the Tennessee 4-H program has conducted an extensive internal program review in order to maintain the program’s excellence in meeting educational and life skills development requirements of Tennessee 4-H youth.
The review process, which began in October 2018, has allowed the Tennessee 4-H leadership team to take a comprehensive look at the program; they have worked together to develop a “background” database containing data for the last ten years. This data contains information about staffing patterns, staff development, enrollment, demographics, educational programs, events, activities, awards and recognition, volunteer leader programs, and the 4-H Foundation.
After collecting information about the program’s background, a facilitation team lead by Dr. Mitch Owen of Mitchen, Inc., conducted a series of listening sessions across the state. These sessions were designed to run a SWOT Analysis and allowed more than 300 people to give feedback. Attendees included 4-H agents, staff, youth, volunteers and alumni who provided valuable information on the program’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for growth.
From these sessions, the information was condensed into common themes based on the questions asked and information reported, which was put into an “input” document. Both the “background” and “input” documents were provided to a team of five external reviewers, including:
- Rukeia Draw-Hood, Extension Program Leader, Prairie View A&M University
- Janet Fox, 4-H Department Head, Louisiana State University AgCenter
- Edwin Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension
- Arch Smith, State 4-H Leader/Director of 4-H, University of Georgia
- Dan Strasser, Director of Special Programs Division, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation
In April, the review team convened to review all documents, visit facilities and meet with the various segments of the Tennessee 4-H Program, including 4-Hers, agents and university administrators across the state. The review team recognized that the Tennessee 4-H program has many strong attributes and was able to offer recommendations and strategies to consider in order to strengthen the program. The 4-H staff will review the report and begin work on making the best better!