The South Carolina Family and Community Leaders (SCFCL) is a volunteer organization extending the resources of the land grant universities to the people of South Carolina. It was initially organized at Winthrop College in June, 1921. SCFCL is an independent nonprofit organization advised by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service. It is composed of over 2000 members from across the state of South Carolina.
The goal of the state organization is to develop, strengthen and correlate the work of the county FCL organizations in the state and their efforts to assist people in promoting all interests pertaining to the higher standards of living in homes and communities. The state organization represents the common interests of the 46 counties in planning cooperative educational work and advising the Cooperative Extension Service on statewide programs in family and youth development.
The mission of SCFCL is to improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities through fellowship, education, and service.
Our motto is dedication, education, and service.
History of Cooperative Extension Services
In the early 1900’s, an interest developed in improving agriculture and rural life. The United States Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with state government and farm organizations, developed programs to accomplish this aim. They recognized that they must reach the youth and homemakers with educational programs if home and family living were to improve. Home economics research was being conducted on some land grant college campuses. The findings of this research could be applied to rural life through an education program of homemakers.
In South Carolina, O.B. Martin, State Superintendent of Education, developed a keen interest in these opportunities for youth, and with the help of Seaman Knapp, who provided the leadership for the early Extension concept, Martin provided opportunities for teachers to participate in training for youth clubs such as corn clubs and tomato clubs. Marie Cromer, a teacher in Aiken County, led the way for girls’ clubs in South Carolina in 1916. Another teacher, Dora Dee Walker, also became interested in girls’ clubs, and then extended it to women’s clubs. These two women were employed by Winthrop College to conduct an Extension program for women and girls.
In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act was passed by Congress providing for an educational program in agriculture and home economics, and related areas in all states. Because the plan provided for cooperation of federal, state, and county governments, the program offered by each land grant college became known as the Cooperative Extension Service. Additional home economists were employed to lead the home economics program for women and youth.
The original plan for the homemakers clubs was for a project leader in each club to receive specific training from the Extension Home Economist and teach the lesson in the monthly club meeting. In this way, individuals were sharing their knowledge, making it possible for the county Extension home economists to serve large numbers of people. This idea proved to be an effective method for reaching large numbers of homemakers with home economics information. The clubs were also the core of group action for community improvement, and the county council, the leader in county-wide improvements.
History of Family and Community Leaders
The first official home demonstration club in South Carolina was organized in Sumter County in 1916 and other clubs were rapidly organized throughout the state. The first two County Councils of Farm Women, composed of members of the home demonstration clubs, were organized in Calhoun and Abbeville counties in 1919. The South Carolina Council of Farm Women was organized at Winthrop College in June, 1921. Subsequently, the name was changed to South Carolina Home Demonstration Council in 1957 and to South Carolina Extension Homemakers Council in 1966. In 1967, the Palmetto Home Demonstration Council officially joined the South Carolina Extension Homemakers Council. The name, South Carolina Association for Family and Community Education was adopted in 1992, and the present name, South Carolina Family and Community Leaders in 1995.
In South Carolina, the Family and Community Leaders have had outstanding accomplishments. A few examples include: Compulsory school attendance, adult education, health issues, educational opportunities for young minorities, school lunch programs, school dropouts, physically handicapped, family abuse, immunization programs and day care.
The South Carolina Family and Community Leaders was organized at Winthrop College in June 1921. It is composed of Family and Community Leaders Clubs throughout the state. These clubs are organized into the county associations.
The purpose of the state organization is to develop, strengthen and correlate the work of the county associations in the state and their efforts to assist people in promoting all interests pertaining to the higher standards of living in homes and communities. The state organization represents the common interests of the county organizations in planning cooperative educational work and advising with Extension representatives in determining all statewide policies.
The state organization meets annually. Programs are developed to help people keep abreast of state and national affairs. The work of the organization is reviewed and a program of work adopted for the new year.
The SCFCL system is recognized as one of the most effective informal adult educational systems in the world. No other such system of adapting current research findings for application and wide diffusion is known. Leaders throughout the county, state, and national levels have emerged from the FCL organization.
The forty-six counties of the South Carolina Family and Community Leaders Organization is divided into three districts. A representative from each district (District Director) serves on the state FCL board. These District Directors are responsible for planning and presiding at district meetings. An extension staff person is designated to serve as advisor to the District Director.
The County Organizations for Family and Community Leaders, composed of the members in Family and Community Leaders Clubs, have as their objectives to raise the standard of home and community life; to develop leadership and initiative among people in the promotion of those movements which are for the upbuilding of community life; to bring together members of Family and Community Leaders Clubs in the county for those ends; to act as aids to extending the work of the Extension Home Economists. The county councils meet twice during the year — in the fall, to present the plan of work for the year, and in the spring of the year, to review the accomplishments and make recommendations for further work.
Family and Community Leaders Clubs
The FCL club is usually organized in natural communities or common interests. It is open to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. The club has educational lessons throughout the year. Education chairmen in each club help to develop the yearly program of work. The officers are free to make organizational decisions to meet the needs of the club. Members have opportunity for individual development and for improvement of family and community life. The FCL club is affiliated with the county FCL organization.