Chambers County 4-H reaches over 1,150 kids this year

Published 10:30 am Friday, May 19, 2023

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VALLEY — The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is the primary outreach organization for the land-grant mission for Auburn University, Alabama A&M University and Tuskegee University. The Extension System has offices in all 67 counties in the State of Alabama. Chambers County Extension Coordinator Rachel Snoddy talked about the many services of the Extension System at Monday evening’s meeting of the Valley Lions Club. She also discussed the Chambers County Health & Wellness Center, which is a joint effort on the part of Auburn University, the Chambers County Commission and the City of LaFayette.

Snoddy said the local Extension office, which is located across Alabama Avenue from the county courthouse, fields all kinds of questions from county residents.

“They send us photos from their phones asking us what kind of bug this is and whether or not this kind of snake is harmful,” she said.

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Snoddy said that Extension takes the university to the people. Those who work with the service are educators bringing practical ways to better the homes, farms, people and communities throughout the state.

An Auburn graduate, Snoddy is originally from Blount County, which is famous for its covered bridges. She has been in Chambers County for the past ten years and is well known by many young adults and their children for her leadership in the 4-H program. In the 2021-22 school year, for example, the Chambers County 4-H program reached over 1,150 children through local schools. This year’s numbers aren’t in yet but they are almost certainly up because of some school mergers.

She said the development of a STEAM Academy in LaFayette would be a good thing for local youth. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

“We have a lot on our plate, but we love what we are doing,” she said. “We have had a lot of fun taking kids to a kayak camp, a STEAM camp, and partnering with Bradshaw-Chambers County Library on some activities.”

In a PowerPoint program, she showed Lions Club members the many events 4-H members can take part in in Alabama.

“Half the time the kids don’t know my name. They just know me as the 4-H lady, and that’s okay,” she said.

In many ways, 4-H prepares youngsters for adulthood.

“We teach them financial management,” Snoddy said. “We teach them to budget their money, and how important it is to have a good-paying job when they are grown.”

A ribbon cutting took place in April to usher in the Community Health & Wellness Center. Snoddy explained how Auburn University is partnering with Chambers County and the City of LaFayette to provide high quality, affordable health care and wellness to the community. AU faculty, staff and students host health and wellness activities at the center and throughout the community. Nursing students educate local residents about maternal health, asthma, hypertension and behavioral changes.

Other services and programs include health care through an OnMed Care Station. This makes available medication management support, education for self-care of chronic conditions, Covid-19 and communicable diseases, vaccines and testing, along with speech, language and hearing evaluations.

The center is open every Monday through Friday from 7-11 a.m. CDT (8-noon Eastern) and on Saturdays and Sunday from 1-6 p.m. CDT (2-7 Eastern).

Snoddy said there’s very little, if any, waiting at the OnMed Care Station.

“It’s nice and roomy once you go in,” she said. “You press a button, someone at a remote location comes up on the screen and they walk you through everything you need to do. You are having a conversation with a clinician when you are there. It’s super easy to use. You can check your weight and your blood pressure when you are there.”

The OnMed Care Station is a fast, convenient way for Chambers County residents to check on their health.

“It can do 80 percent of what you would get in a normal visit to a doctor,” Snoddy said.

The Wellness Center is located on Highway 50 a short distance away from Lowe’s Pharmacy and Chambers County DHR.

Snoddy said an arrangement is being worked out with Lowe’s Pharmacy to fill prescriptions for those who come there, creating something of a one-stop shop for healthcare needs.

At the present time, visits to the Wellness Center are free. There could be a modest charge by late summer.

“No appointments are necessary,” Snoddy said. “It’s for walk-ins only and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Most people are in and out in less than 30 minutes. Your first visit will be a little longer to get your records on file. It’s a really efficient system, and it’s right here in the middle of Chambers County.”

Chambers County is fortunate to be a pilot program with this.

“More of them will be going up, especially in rural counties,” Snoddy said. “The goal is to have it in all 67 counties.”

Chambers County was selected for this program in the fall of 2020.

“Chris Busby of the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA) helped us get a grant for it,” Snoddy said.