Arizona 4-H Character Counts: Educating Cochise County Youth

Support Increased Economic Opportunities and Improved Quality of Life in Rural America
Research Year: 

4-H Agents have identified character issues as critical in many 4-H activities. Also, schools report that disruptions in the classroom due to behavior problems reduce the number of effective teaching hours in a school day. The need was identified to improve behaviors in some youth and train agents, teachers and community leaders using Character Education materials and resources.

Description of Action: 

Character Counts Curriculum is now in all five of the elementary schools and in both of the middle schools in the Sierra Vista Public School District in southeastern Arizona. Cooperative Extension personnel in Cochise County provided Character Counts training to care providers who serve all five of the before-and-after-school sites at the elementary schools. Character Counts training was also provided to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America in Sierra Vista and Bisbee. Sierra Vista continues as a "Community of Character" and has extended and endorsed Character Counts throughout the community. At Apache Middle School, the six pillars painted upon the pillars of their locker ramada as a daily reminder that these six pillars are the pillars of the school.

School children are learning to become leaders instead of displaying negative behavior. Smith Middle School has adopted the Character Counts program. Douglas educators have attended training and Sam Gordon Elementary school has also adopted the program. Bisbee's homeless shelter for women and their children use the curriculum and have started a 4-H club at their site. One trainer at the Sierra Vista Boys & Girls Club of America stated, "We couldn't imagine NOT having the six pillars of character be the foundation of our program. It is fun, easy, and just makes sense."


Nearly 200 youth at Ft. Huachuca receive Character Counts education at Ft. Huachuca Accommodation School. There is full implementation of Character Counts at the Child Development Center. Arizona now leads the nation in collaboration between 4-H faculty and military installations as evidenced by the invitation to be the state-side sponsor of Air Force Bases in Korea and Japan. During the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new School Age Services building, Congressman Jim Kolbe commented, "It is great to see 4-H all over this building. I never realized the Army was involved in 4-H."

Funding Agencies: 

Arizona Cooperative Extension

Conact Name: 
Darcy Tessman
Contact E-mail: 
Contact Address: 

The University of Arizona

450 S. Haskell Avenue

Willcox AZ 85643-2790

(520) 384-3594 office (520) 384- 3681 FAX