Serious problems arise with the local 4-H programUPDATED 9:14 PM HST Jul 24, 2014Video Transcript
Exclusive tonight ... Serious problems with the local 4-H program. It's supposed to teach children about farming and business ... But the program run by the University of Hawaii has also been teaching hard lessons in favoritism and corruption! KITV4's Brenton Awa shows us... U-H is trying to get this program out of the mud ... 21-25 1:11-1:18 1:38-1:47 Tatiana Burke is a 4H member with a 5-star smile... That grin's because Tatiana just took the state farm fair's top honor for "best showmanship" with her goat. But Tatiana wasn't always finishing first -- in fact -- it wasn't long ago that she recalls placing dead-last -- after she says judges did her wrong. Just one of the problems 4h'ers say have plagued the program. 626 - Tatiana - "THEY NEVER REALLY ACTUALLY LOOKED AT MY ANIMAL, THEY JUST LIKE OH, DIFFERENT BREED WHY DO WE HAVE TO JUDGE THAT." Tatiana says the favoritism's frustrating... The hassle started when she first tried to sign up 5-years ago .. 200 - 204 Tatiana Burke - "THEY WE'RE TRYING TO GET ME OUT BEFORE, EVEN THOUGH I WAS TRYING TO JUST GET IN." Once in -- she ran into more problems ... After taking out a loan to help raise her animal -- ...then selling it after the fair -- she was supposed to get paid back by the program -- but claims the program lost her money. 733 - "IT WAS JUST SO FRUSTRATING FOR ME AND I ALMOST HAD TO DEFAULT ON A LOAN AND YOURE GOING TO DESTROY MY CREDIT SCORE BEFORE I EVEN HAVE ONE? ITS SO UNFAIR." Others involved in 4H say the issues start at the top -- at the U-H Manoa campus ... With management being mis-run. They say the lack of accountability has led to volunteer coordinators forming their own cliques and doing as they please.. 1930 - Gary - "AND SO THE VOLUNTEERS HAVE BECOME PRETTY INDEPENDENT AND JUST DECIDED WE'RE GOING TO DO IT THE WAY WE WANT TO DO IT SO IF WE DON'T LIKE SOMEBODY WHO HAS THIS BREED OF ANIMAL, WE'LL DO EVERYTHING WE CAN DO MAKE THEM GO AWAY." The University of Hawaii admits that for nearly a decade it WAS in a slump. Since 1998 the department went without a program leader because of budget cuts. An external review four- years-ago pointed out a key flaw in the system... communication. UH doesn't deny it. 1715 - UH - "DISCONNECTS BETWEEN THE STAFF. LACK OF CONSISTENT COMMUNICATION, SOMETIMES MISCOMMUNIC ATION ABOUT VARIOUS ISSUES." Another criticism ... The program losing more than 40- thousand-members over the last 12-years. But the school says that's mis- information. Records show just 11-hundred club members in 1998 and nearly double that today. UH staffers say they know that 4h'ers members are passionate about building the program. They are too. Saying they've finally hired new leadership -- have improved the lines of communication -- and are following in the 4H way. Using their hands -- health and heart -- to head in the right direction. Brenton Awa -- KITV4 News.