When Courtney Brock attended her first 4-H meeting at the age of 9, she wasn’t sure she’d want to stay.
“I was not an outdoor kid at all,” she said. “And my dad thought for sure he would have to come pick me up, and there’s something about being in 4-H (that) kids in 4-H will know what I’m talking about. It just kind of sucks you in, and before you know it, you’ve been in it for 15 years.”
Brock grew up in Floyd County, where her love of 4-H was born. After college she began her extension career in Pike County, and today Brock serves as the 4-H county extension agent for youth development in Lincoln County. Brock said she moved to the area because she and her husband loved it, and she was excited to learn more about the county’s agricultural aspect, which is a significant part of 4-H.
4-H — head, heart, hands and health — is a club that not only explores agriculture, but teaches students basic life skills and lessons.
Founded in 1902 by A.B. Graham, 4-H has spread throughout the United States and is now an international club.
A club for 5- to 8-year-olds called the Cloverbuds exists as well.
According to Brock, 4-H teaches young people skills they don’t normally learn in a regular classroom setting.
“Teachers get them with lots of quantity,” she said. “But I think with 4-H we do lots of quality.”
Her mother always believed Brock would be a teacher because of her desire to help tutor and teach students at after-school programs when she was in high school.
“Now, I’m pretty much a teacher,” she said, laughing.
Brock’s undergraduate degree is in journalism and communications, and she recently received a master’s degree in arts and teaching. Both degrees are from Morehead State University.
Before college, Brock was president and vice president of the 4-H Teen Council.
One of her favorite aspects of 4-H is community service.
“I know that people don’t want to call it community service anymore,” she said.
“But I really like service learning. I think it lets kids understand that even if it’s something really small, they can make a difference in their community, and even on a bigger scale.”
Most recently, the Lincoln County 4-H group attended a camp the last week of June in London along with 4-H’ers from Boyle, Estill and Powell counties.
Another program that 4-H advocates is the Health Rocks program, a tobacco/alcohol prevention curriculum.
The 4-H Means Business club will start up soon in Lincoln County as well. It is a program where kids can apply for a $50 loan from the 4-H Council after they figure out what they want to sell.
From there, once they’ve made enough profit, they must pay back the $50 loan, and 10 percent of their profit must be donated to a non-profit organization in the county.
Recently, Missouri 4-H members came to Kentucky to get a feel of the state. The group went on field trips to Kentucky’s largest cities, toured local farms and had a family day, among other activities.
“No two days are the same,” Brock said.
“All the youth and adults I've worked with during my first year here have been fantastic and I couldn't ask for better adult volunteers to help lead such outstanding programs.”