The son of a former Extension home demonstration agent, Craven Hudson grew up in 4-H. Now he’s set to help lead Georgia’s 4-H program as its new associate state leader.
Mother pushed 4-H involvement
Hudson’s mother — his original 4-H leader — made sure all four of her sons participated in 4-H because she knew they needed to be involved and engaged in their rural community, he said. “There weren’t all these options that we have now,” explained Hudson. “There was 4-H and baseball.”
Now he’s much farther from his original Red Bank Community 4-H Club and is honored to be leading a new group of more than 184,000 of Georgia’s youth.
Hudson comes to the University of Georgia Extension and Georgia 4-H from North Carolina State University where he served as the executive assistant to the director of Cooperative Extension. He also held the position of executive director of development for 4-H and family and consumer sciences in the NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He brings more than 25 years of Extension experience to Georgia.
“Craven’s background as a county Extension agent and knowledge of fund development and organizational skills will help Georgia 4-H continue to be among the best 4-H programs in the United States,” said State 4-H Leader Arch Smith.
Hudson earned a bachelor's degree in forestry and wildlife from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a master’s degree in forestry from NC State. He is currently working on a doctorate of education at NC State.
He is excited about the impact he can have on Georgia’s largest youth development organization.
Plans to grow volunteer force
“4-H is a phenomenal part of Extension and it’s the part that can transform the future,” he said. “It helps kids gain exceptional leadership and citizenship skills. Certainly all the other parts are important, but I am excited about being able to focus on what we can do so that our youth can become citizen-leaders. From this administrative role, I want to do the most good for our state and nation.”
Hudson’s first goals are to garner more adult volunteer leaders to align with the state’s growing population and increase retention of Cloverleaf 4-H’ers (fifth- through sixth-graders).
He is excited to see the size and scope of Georgia 4-H’s summer camping program.
“We know so many amazing things happen at residential camps,” he said. “The research is pretty strong about what happens when a kid is in that kind of atmosphere, and Georgia does it at a high level.”
When asked about moving to the peach state, Hudson said he hasn’t met a stranger yet. “Folks in North Carolina think they’ve got hospitality but I’ve experienced real hospitality in Georgia,” he answered, "and that’s the truth.”
About Georgia 4-H
4-H is the youth development program of a nationwide network of 109 land-grant university extension programs that promotes leadership, citizenship, communication, education and more to young people ages 9 to 19. In Georgia, programs are facilitated by University of Georgia Extension faculty and reach youth in school and county club meetings led by 4-H agents and program assistants, and on the state level through project-based competitions, summer camps and conferences.
(Josh Paine is a marketing specialist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)