South Dakota CHARACTER COUNTS!SM marks 10 years

South Dakota CHARACTER COUNTS!SM marks 10 years
The South Dakota CHARACTER COUNTS!SM Project is marking its 10th anniversary in October as national CHARACTER COUNTS!SM (CC!) Week takes place Oct. 15-21.

State CC! Coordinator Karelyn Farrand said the state program got under way in 1996, when South Dakota State University's Cooperative Extension Service constructed a long-range plan to bring the message of CC! to every county in the state.

Delivering the program became the responsibility of the 4-H/youth development Extension educators, who were located in every county across South Dakota.

"The mission was to support and partner with communities to teach youth and adults the CC! framework based on Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship," Farrand said.

SDSU Extension and the South Dakota 4-H Foundation appointed a statewide project leader in 1997 to coordinate the program. In 1998 three regional coordinators were added to increase the outreach of CC! and to assist Extension educators in coordinating CC! in their counties.

"The CC! staff is continually assessing the project to provide schools, community citizens, local businesses and boards with current character education trainings and resources," Farrand said. "The CC! staff is prepared to offer trainings on 10 different topics and is prepared to modify the trainings to fit a client's needs. Each regional coordinator's office provides the citizens of South Dakota with a character education library."

To view the contents of the libraries, go to, then click on "Resources."

Currently, CC! is the nation's most widely used character development framework and reaches about 70 percent of all school districts in South Dakota, Farrand said.

Since 1996, the CC! project has reached an estimated 90,000 youth through some form of the program.

Over 700 teens and 2,500 adults in South Dakota have been trained to use the CC! framework.

For more information on CC!, contact your local Extension office. Or call CC! State Coordinator Karelyn Farrand at (605) 626-7120.

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