Armed with the prestigious Timothy Hoyte Environmental Award under its belt, the local 4-H movement is projecting almost 60 per cent growth by year-end.

According to Programme Coordinator with the 4-H Foundation, Hamilton Blackman, "there are currently 30 clubs spread across the primary and secondary schools as well as a few communities, and they will be working assiduously to increase the complement.

"Our target is to have at least 50 clubs by year-end. A number of primary schools have indicated interest in joining the 4-H, so in the coming months, we will be out in our numbers helping to assist them in setting up clubs," he explained.

Mr. Blackman was speaking after the 4-H Foundation was presented with the distinguished award recently at the national Arbor Day observation.

In reflecting on the movement’s success since its establishment here in the 1960s, he said they were "very pleased" with the strides made, especially since the move to revitalise the organisation some three years ago.

"One of our main objectives is to develop well-rounded citizens. If we can help to develop young people in terms of leadership roles, interest in agriculture and home-economics we would be fulfilling our role.

"I think we are pretty pleased since we started the revitalisation three years ago. There is a lot of goodwill, and corporate Barbados is showing a lot of interest in the 4-H. We have to tap into that a bit more," he noted.

In terms of its focus, Mr. Blackman promised that in the future greater emphasis would be placed on environmental projects. To this end, he explained, individual clubs would be encouraged to participate in such activities. Additionally, as a body, the 4H would partner with more environmental organisations with a view to playing its part in helping to "green" Barbados.

Optimistic that the movement will return to the vibrancy of the 1960s and 1970s, Mr. Blackman said efforts were on stream to strengthen the movement.

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