4-H image keeping pace with the times

111
Todd Branson is Canadian County's new 4-H educator with the OSU Cooperative Extension Service Youth Department. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

By Carol Mowdy Bond

Contributing Writer

Todd Branson is Canadian County’s new 4-H educator with the OSU Cooperative Extension Service Youth Department.

“The 4-H motto is: To Make the Best Better. My goal is to find what students are interested in, and elevate that interest to building them into productive leaders in the future,” Branson says. “I recruit students through community groups, business leaders, and schools. I partner with other youth programs such as Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, and Ag in the Classroom.”

Branson says 4-H is no longer just an agriculture-related organization. Students have all sorts of projects to engage with including livestock, as well as computer, food, health, robotics, rocketry, science and other projects. ”

“4-H is aligning programming to school standards and STEM programming,” Branson said. “I’m changing the perception that it’s just about agriculture.”

“All 77 Oklahoma counties have some sort of 4-H program. Most 4-H offices are in the county’s county seat. As long as you reside in Canadian County, you can be involved in our county’s program,” Branson said.

Currently, there are about 400 Canadian County students involved in 4-H. But Branson is working to grow that number by educating the public about modern changes in opportunities that 4-H provides.

Students from age 9, or about third grade, through age 19, can be involved in 4-H.

A Mustang resident, Branson has been involved with 4-H for 38 years. He entered the program as a ten-year old boy. And now 4-H is his career. He graduated from Purdue University with a degree in animal science and a minor in international studies.

To connect with 4-H and get more information, visit 4H.okstate.edu.