H-SANTA MARIA

Jun 14, 2013 6:36 PM by April Hansen, KSBY

Santa Barbara County's 4-H groups receive funding

4-H groups in Santa Barbara County survived a round of county budget cuts Friday and will be funded for another year.

The future of the 4-H clubs in the county was in question a few weeks ago as the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors tackled a $10 million shortfall for the next fiscal year.

Funding for 4-H clubs in California comes from several sources, including the University of California Cooperative Extension.

The county gets a portion of that money, which is about $153,000 for local 4-H programs.

Heathyr Knowles and her daughters watched anxiously as the board of supervisors debated on the fate of 4-H programs in Santa Barbara County.

Supervisor support was four to one and 4-H won.

"4-H is where they belong. It's where they are accepted. It's where they get to learn things they never get to learn anywhere else and that's so important," said Knowles.

Knowles is the community leader for the Bonita 4-H.

She said she came to the meeting to support the 900 kids in the county that participate in this program.

"It's somewhere where they are accepted 100-percent," said Knowles.

Her daughters have been 4-H members for 5 years.

It's their passion.

4-H is a program they said they are thankful won't be going away.

"We all share a passion of doing fun stuff together and you can't really do that anywhere else as a group," said Thea Knowles.

"It's really about the connections I've been able to make with my heritage," said Cora Knowles.

Whether they are learning photography, how to balance a checkbook, or raising sheep, the Knowles said it's the people they meet along the way that makes them fight for 4-H.

"I've met a lot of new people that are awesome and become really good friends and we've become a big family of 60 people," said Thea Knowles.

The county's 4-H groups also apply for private funds every year to help pay for their programs. So,if the program were cut, the county would lose its affiliation with 4-H.

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