Community Development Club Week observed
By By Sharon Busler/Special to The Star
May 27, 2001
A program that has made an immeasurable contribution to the welfare and progress of Lauderdale County for the past 49 years, is being saluted this week by the Lauderdale County Extension Service and the East Mississippi Business Development Cooperation.
The Lauderdale Community Development Club program, which organized in 1952 in five communities, continues to be a force making great strides in improving community life. Today, the program includes seven clubs in seven communities of the county: Causeyville, Center Hill, Collinsville, Long Creek, Northeast, Russell and Suqualena.
In the beginning, the purpose of the Community Development Program was to boost farm production by using improved methods to increase farm income and provide better living. These goals were good and tremendous progress was made in the 50s but in the 60s, the patterns in Lauderdale County changed from a rural farm to a rural non-farm pattern. The majority of the families involved in Community Development clubs today may live in a rural setting but are employed away from the community in which they live.
Realizing this change was occurring, the Community Development Clubs under the leadership of J.D Howerton, county agent at the time met as a group and revised the overall program to a community betterment approach, rather than an individual member approach.
The clubs are now striving to carry out the task of developing natural and human resources in each of their communities and in doing so promote better living. Through the years, these clubs have instigated major changes in community life that has made a major impact on their individual communities, like securing community water systems and organizing volunteer fire departments. Today, community development clubs are not only supporting the community water systems and the volunteer fire departments, but also providing educational scholarships. They also are sponsoring community health fairs, assisting with charity fund drives, holding special programs for young people and the aged, working with Keep America Beautiful by cleaning up roadside litter, building new club houses, tackling major problems that threatened peoples lives, conducting neighborhood watch programs, holding community days and arts festivals and many other tasks.
The Community Club provides a nucleus for concerned citizens to plan and work toward improving their surroundings. Through very carefully planned programs and projects, the club meets current needs and prepares for the future. Each club provides an outlet for people to grow and work together to help their communities grow and flourish. The accomplishments of the clubs are numerous and as these progressive communities grow and prosper, so do Meridian and Lauderdale County.
The Community Development program is sponsored through the EMBDC with 23 sponsors providing cash awards and mini-grants. These awards and mini-grants are used as incentives and the sponsors, many who have supported the program for more than 20 years, are enthusiastic about the program and what it provides to our area. This program is coordinated annually by the Lauderdale County Extension Service.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to participate. No membership fee is required. Membership can be obtained by attending one of the monthly meetings and letting the club know of your intentions, by calling the County Extension Office, or by touching base with a Community Development Club member in your community.
Each club meets monthly and is held in each community at the following times and places:
Causeyville Causeyville Club House, next to ball field, first Tuesday night.
Center Hill Four Club Community House, third Tuesday night
Collinsville Collinsville Club House, behind McPhail grocery, third Tuesday night.
Long Creek Long Creek Club House, next to the Volunteer Fire Department, second Monday night.
Northeast Northeast Club House, next to Northeast High School, third Monday night.
Russell Russell Club House, next to the Volunteer Fire Department, first Thursday night.
Suqualena Basement of Masonic Lodge, fourth Monday night.
Sharon Busler is home economist for the Mississippi State University-Extension Service, Lauderdale County.