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The recruiting of a 4-H Club member

By Staff | May 8, 2009

Mitch Brinkman, left, sixth-grade student with the Garfield Gleaners 4-H Club, and Connor Schoening, a fifth-grade student with Guys and gals Grant 4-H Club, work together to mix a batch of chocolate chip cookies during the first Pocahontas County cookie workshop.

POCAHONTAS – Pocahontas County Extension whipped up batches of cookies April 28 hoping the recipe would successfully retain young 4-H members.

The idea for the first 4-H cookie workshop was conceived by Nancy Jensen, county Extension director, and Lisa Zeman, the county youth coordinator.

“We always have a cookie challenge in the Pocahontas County Fair,” Jensen said. “We just thought this workshop may increase participation in that event.”

The two women wanted to show 4-H youth in grades 4 through 6, that fair projects can be simple as making a chocolate chip cookie.

“These are cookies they can make at home,” Jensen said. “The recipes we are using for the chocolate chip cookies came off of a bag of chocolate chips. This shows the kids you don’t need access to a cook book. There are other resources where they can find recipes.”

Nancy Jensen, director of Pocahontas County Extension, demonstrates the proper way to measure and mix ingredients for chocolate chip cookies.

Nearly 20 4-H members from the county signed up for the afternoon event. Many admitted it was the allure of making cookies that brought them.

“My favorite part of making cookies is eating the cookie dough,” fifth-grade student Connor Schoening of the Guys and Gals Grant Club said. Jensen kept all fingers out of the cookie dough through reminding members that sanitary precautions are crucial when cooking in a group.

“Always wash your hands first before you start baking,” Jensen said. “You don’t want to make a judge or anyone else sick from eating your cookies.”

As the children worked on their culinary skills in groups of four or five, another lesson crept out of the process – team work. Some groups delegated responsibilities into mixing dry ingredients, wet ingredients and finally combining the two. The successful assembly line served the cooking process well.

Students were also introduced to the process of goal sheets and entry forms.

Kacie Cox, back, and Hannah Nagengast, in foreground, posed before they get their hands messy with cookie dough at the first cookie workshop to be sponsered by Pocahontas County Extension.

“They might seem like a pain now,” Zeman said, “but it’s fun to look back on your record book to see everything you’ve done over the year.”

Members can submit projects they’ve already completed for school, like art projects and Iowa history projects.

“You may already have exhibits done that you could enter tomorrow,” Zeman said. “All you have to do is fill out a goal sheet and tags.”

For those members who aren’t so keen on paperwork, there are projects like photo challenge. The theme this year for the challenge was winter wonderland.

Some youngsters, like 11-year-old Jessica Kemp, already had a little experience in cooking projects.

“Last year I made monkey bread and puppy chow,” Kemp said. “I got first place in both.”

Contact Lindsey Ory by e-mail at lindsey.ory@hotmail.com.

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