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4-H clubs to meet; members attend forum in Lexington

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By Roberta Hunt

The winter of 2010 will be remembered and talked about by most of us for years to come as the winter of lots of snow and frigid temperatures.  When Canada can’t seem to get cold enough for the Winter Olympics, Kentucky seems to be in a perpetual deep freeze.  The forecast for the upcoming weekend is for more snow.  When we look out the window, it’s not if we are going to see snow, it’s how much snow are actually going to see!

These days we rely too much on television, computer games and electronic devices to occupy our free time or our snow days.  When it’s too cold to play outside, it is time to get creative inside!  On weekends when it might be the entire family who is snowbound, take the advantage of the time together to play board games, create art, cook together and create “snow memories” by taking photos of your family time.

Not only can you create family memories that can last a lifetime, but you can also teach valuable life skills to your children.  Engage your children by letting them help cook something warm and cozy in the kitchen.  Cooking is especially enjoyable for children because it requires using all five senses.  The see the foods and prepare them with their own hands.  They can hear foods popping or sizzling in the pan and smell the aromas.  Finally, the best part is they get to taste their finished product.  

Cooking provides new and challenging tasks that are not too difficult for a child to accomplish under the correct supervision. Cooking activities help build motor skills. Whisking, cutting or measuring with teaspoons and tablespoons, stirring, pouring and ladling uses muscles associated with motor skills. Parents should stay close and gently guide children in the process.

Food preparation requires math and science skills. Children can practice simple math by learning about amounts and measurements and the concepts of more and less. They can hypothesize about what might happen next when a recipe gets changed. They also have a front row seat to watch changes as they occur.

A special learning benefit is to encourage tasting new and different foods. Children may be more inclined to try a greater variety of foods if they are actively involved in preparing it.

Children of almost any age can help in the kitchen. Sharp knives should not be used, but a plastic, serrated knife may be safe. Ovens and electric burners should never be used without adult supervision. Take time to talk with children about hot appliances such as when they should and should not be used, and how long they stay hot after being turned off. Cooking also is a good opportunity for children to practice safeguards such as health, safety and cleanliness.

Even though it can get messy at times in the kitchen, cooking is a great opportunity to bond and opens the door for discussion, creativity, and learning.

The 4-H Cooking project is another way youth can learn basic food preparation skills.  Watch for the announcement of the spring 4-H project meetings that will include beginning and advanced cooking classes for 4-H members.  Anyone wanting recipes and food preparation information to use during our current “snow days” should contact the Washington County Extension Office at 336-7741.

For 4-H members involved in project clubs that are currently meeting, please remember that if school is cancelled due to bad weather, 4-H club meetings are also cancelled.  If you are in doubt, just call the extension office or the 4-H project club leader.

The 4-H Young Riders meeting originally scheduled for Monday, Feb. 15 has been rescheduled to Thursday, Feb. 18. The 4-H Spurs & Furs will not be rescheduling their February meeting time but will meet in March on their regular date of Tuesday, March 16.

At this time, the 4-H Hooves and Horns Club will meet on Monday, Feb. 22 6:30 p.m. as originally scheduled.  The 4-H Sewing Club will meet on Saturday, Feb. 27, 9-12 noon at the extension office.

STATE 4-H VOLUNTEER FORUM

The Kentucky 4-H Volunteer Forum was held on Feb. 12 and 13 at the Lexington Convention Center and Hyatt Regency.  Fourteen Washington County teen and adult volunteers attended one or both days of the forum.  During the two day event, 4-H volunteers had the opportunity to attend workshops, educational and commercial exhibits, awards banquet and luncheon and visit with 4-H volunteers from across the state of Kentucky.  Washington County leaders developed three exhibits that were on display for both days of the conference that showcased successful 4-H programs and activities conducted in Washington County.  The exhibits represented the 4-H Teen Club, 4-H Spurs and Furs and 4-H Young Riders clubs.

Three 4-H members were recognized at the Saturday awards luncheon.  Mary Kutter received the Conrad Feltner Teen Leadership award.  She was one of four state recipients.  Kelsey Thompson and Brittany Wells received the 10 year member award.  They were the only two 10 year member from District 5.  Mary Kutter was selected to perform the National Anthem, My Old KY Home and also presented a half hour music program during the luncheon.

Others attending the Kentucky 4-H Volunteer Forum were Charlotte Campbell, Rose Clements, Bob Grider, Samantha Ross, Clare Lutz, Diane Lutz, Krista Thompson, Ike Thompson, Tana Wells, Pauletta Kutter and Joey Spalding who is currently serving on the Kentucky 4-H Foundation Board of Directors.

Washington County was very well represented and we are proud of the accomplishments and recognition our volunteers received!

For more information contact the Washington County Cooperative Extension Service.