Gettin’ fired up
By ROBYN KRUGER
Farm News staff writer
SIBLEY – 4-H’ers of all ages ventured out to attend Osceola County’s 4-H Fire-up event Saturday in Sibley.
Clubs from throughout the county met to share their ideas and projects, and to provide information and to encourage prospective 4-H’ers and their families.
Those interested in the county program were able to meet the leaders of many of the county clubs, as well as the members. Working exhibits and projects were showcased encouraging youths to delve into their personal interests, by getting involved in diverse programs.
“The main categories that encompass our organization,” said Michael Compton, ISU Extension Osceola County 4-H and youth coordinator, “are animals, creative arts, ag and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, personal development, and science, engineering and technology.
“Within these categories, besides our more traditional 4-H clubs, we also offer clubs in shooting sports, Future Lego League and Junior Lego League.”
He said 4-H schedules a variety of programming throughout the year including last summer’s week long Robotics & G.I.S. Camp, and a one-day Outdoor Adventure Camp, partnered with Pheasants Forever.
“I offer programming within the schools in such areas as food and nutrition, biology, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and a middle school leadership program called Ricochet.”
Programs like Fire-up increase the county’s enrollment as does the state 4-H program’s new online enrollment process, Compton said. This makes it convenient for busy parents to get their child enrolled in the program and also makes it easier for 4-H staff as they have each member’s information at their fingertips.
Aside from developing personal interests and enjoying group activities, Compton said, the 4-H program provides its members with opportunities for local community service.
Some of the recent projects the youths have worked toward are preparing and serving meals to low-income and elderly nursing home residents, cleaning ditches along the county roadsides, making and delivering May baskets to the needy, planting flowers in the park, adopting animals from a wildlife orphanage, organizing a barn quilt project for the Osceola County fairgrounds, renovating the corn crib at Hawkeye Point and donating new educational learning materials to their own 4-H program.
“I see 4-H as a youth development organization,” Compton said, “with the goal of encouraging self-motivated learning that can be encouraged and developed through mentoring relationships of caring adult leaders.”
Compton said he also works with local schools to provide school enrichment programs to all youth in the county.
“This process allows the students get exposed to 4-H and what ISU Extension has to offer and also allows me to make a connection with the kids.
“The students then get to know me as ‘the 4-H guy,’ as they put it, and it puts face to the program and makes it more personal.
“The goal is that by building relationships with both adults and youth the 4-H program will continue to improve and expand to include both rural and urban families.”
Oct. 7-13 is National 4-H week
For more information on enrolling a child in 4-H, contact a local county Extension office, or visit: www.extension.iastate.edu.
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