4-H looking for adults to teach youngsters
The primary goal of 4-H is to help young people develop the life skills that will allow them to live productive and satisfying lives. To make the program's benefits available to a greater number of children in the Castle Country, USU Extension Associate Professor and Agriculture Agent Ron Patterson is asking that area parents and other adults step forward and lead by example.
According to Patterson, the 4-H's presence in Carbon County is strong. However, with the aid of additional adult volunteers and instructors the program could increase three fold.
"Between our camps and clubs we serve around 150 kids each year," explained Patterson. "That number could grow to between 400 and 500 with the right amount of adult leadership and involvement."
And for those with a tight schedule, Patterson made it clear that what the club needs most is adults who are willing to step up in between the major programs.
"The thing is, we don't need everyone to be a club leader," he said. "But we do need parental involvement in multiple ways to make 4-H grow. Many hands make for light work."
Right now, 4-H serves between 130 and 150 kids each year between various camps and clubs. Patterson state that the club could grow to as large as 400 or 500 kids.
"The county fair comes and at times that is the last you see of a large amount of our adult volunteers," said Patterson. "4-H is a year-around organization and with only part time leadership, our members aren't getting all that is available through the program."
4-H teaches youth leadership, citizenship and life skills using a "learn by doing" approach and is an educational program that provides wholesome, fun activities for youth, according to USU Extension literature.
The nationwide program is offered in the Castle Country through the USU Extension Office and includes clubs, camps, mentoring programs, contests and fairs.
In Utah, the 100-year-old youth organization, hosts everything from horse and junior livestock shows to robotics and All Terrain Vehicle courses. It is this type of special skill and education, Patterson is looking to bring to Utah's Castle Country with the help of area adults.
"What we need is for parents or volunteers to come in and work as project specialists," he said. "If they have a particular skill that the kids are interested in, maybe they can come in and teach a six to eight hour instructional course."
Some of 4-H's more popular activities locally include the Teen Council, Winter and Summer Retreat programs and the State Competition with its mock legislature. Patterson would like parents to realize that there are many different levels of assistance and that involvement with the club does not bind a person to 4-H for a difficult amount of time. Only two of the club's programs meet throughout the entire year, and a great many programs like the rabbit and livestock run from May through the county fair in August.
From January through August, the group's focus turns to their Master Gardener program and the produce it makes available during the summer Farmers Market. Other activities include sewing, cooking, crafts, shooting sports and of course a rabbit club.
Patterson and his fellow 4-H participants recently started a Community Club which will meet regularly and participate multiple activities. According to the USU 4-H Agent, community clubs are the manner in which 4-H is organized in the rest of the nation.
Those interested in joining can find more information online at carboncounty4-H.org. Adult advisers must be at least 21 years old and pass a background check.
Those interested in joining 4-H need only be in the 3rd through 12th grade.