James J. Brasher was a state leader for Florida 4-H and associate dean for extension. Although not a 4-H member in his youth, he became involved as a result of his involvement in youth educational programs.
He was a great admirer of the 4-H program and loved spending time with 4-H members. “We are looking at the finest collection of young people in the United States,” said Dr. Brasher, when addressing the Florida 4-H Congress in 1978.
Dr. Brasher led efforts to increase visibility of the state and national 4-H programs. He encouraged the Florida 4-H Foundation members to expand support for Florida 4-H. His commitment throughout his professional involvement was contagious, spreading enthusiasm through youth and professionals alike.
He advocated increased professional development for 4-H agents and faculty, so they would have the best knowledge available for their work.
During Dr. Brasher’s tenure as Assistant Dean and Department Chair for 4-H programs, the Florida 4-H program flourished with the addition of many new programs. One of the most successful new programs was Florida 4-H Legislature, a mock youth legislature conducted in Tallahassee in the State Capital Building. Youth attending the event were housed on the Florida State University campus.
County and state faculty also began developing additional program delivery strategies that again included the public schools in school enrichment programming. Greater focus was also placed on making the 4-H program accessible to all youth regardless of racial, economic, or rural/urban status. 4-H Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Programs (EFNEP) became one of the key delivery methods for inner city youth during this time period.
He was a role model for positive living and helping youth achieve their goals. Brasher demonstrated and expected true commitment from other adults, asking them to help youth realize their fullest potential. His approach to his personal and professional life was an inspiration to many youth and will continue to influence 4-H for many years to come.