Interdependence is the dependence of two or more people (or things) on one another. Using the lens of Florida 4-H, interdependence means the health of your program affects the health of my program.
In 2013 a very cool (yes, I’m being sincere) document was published- Florida 4-H Standards and Expectations. In 9 pages, this document summed up exactly what a “healthy” Florida 4-H county program should look like. My first honest reaction was, “Words. Lots of Words.” My second reaction was- “Man, I wish this existed when I was dropped into my first 4-H Agent position.” Since that time, this is one of the first documents I share with our new faculty.
For your convenience, and because I’m essentially a good person at heart, I have boiled this document down to very, very basics. Check out my Standards and Expectations Cheat Sheet here: Standards and Expectations Cheat Sheet I strongly encourage you to read the long and the short version.
Why does this document matter? From county-to-county our organization (Florida 4-H) should have some unifying components. As much as I don’t really like the statement- “We want to be one 4-H, not 67 4-H programs” there is some wisdom found within it in this context. It’s better for marketing, it’s easier to streamline our efforts statewide, and when it comes to growing 4-H- it gives us the plan for how and where to grow first (hint- focus on high quality core 4-H programs first!). Above that if we think about moving a youth toward mastery- we need each other! We are interdependent. I need you to help me with your expertise to build and support significant programs beyond what I can do in my county alone! As a for instance- a District 4-H Council will never be successfully if only half of the counties choose to participate. How then do those youth who wish to “master” their leadership skills do so? Are there other venues? Sure. Are there smarter ones? Maybe. But if there are- we need to look at them as an organization as opposed to the every man fending for himself approach in the meantime. Remember- work smarter, not harder.
As you look at your 4-H program during your scheduled “planning time” (you did schedule that, right?) I would encourage you to zero in on the section titled, “Every County 4-H Program Includes…”. Where are your biggest pockets for improvement? Where are your greatest opportunities for growth? How does that effect the rest of your program? For instance- if your Council program doesn’t seem to be working, perhaps consider the quality of your club programs. Are they really functioning? Undoubtedly the quality of your club program will affect your council program (and vice versa). The beauty of this thing is there are a LOT of right answers, and you get to choose the one you like best!
Happy Monday to all of you! 🙂