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Become a 4-H leader; conference to be held

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By Roberta Hunt

If you enjoy working with young people, volunteering as a 4-H club leader may be an exciting and fulfilling experience for you. In 4-H, caring, enthusiastic adults are always needed to assist young people in achieving their goals.

Club leaders can positively impact a 4-H’ers life. It is very rewarding for them to watch young people build self-confidence and self-worth and develop new interests as they accomplish goals in various projects and activities.

The success of 4-H over the past 100 years in Kentucky is due to committed and caring volunteers.  Recently at the KY State Fair, the Hall of Fame Volunteers from across Kentucky were honored for their past and continuing service. Washington County’s Hall of Fame recipient, Mrs. Ruby Stetson was again honored for the leadership she gave to Washington County 4-H in the 60’s and early 70’s.  It would be hard to say how many thousands of Washington County adult and teen volunteers have been instrumental in impacting lives of local youth.

Club leaders can either help lead a 4-H school club, project club or community club. School clubs are held either during school time or immediately after school on school grounds. Project clubs focus on an individual project area, with topics such as livestock, horse, country ham and shooting sports. Community clubs include members who are enrolled in a variety of projects and live in a specific geographical area. No previous leadership experience or knowledge is needed, but leaders of project clubs need to have an interest in their subject.  Many of our club leaders are parents of young people in the group, but it is not a requirement for club leaders.

In addition to wanting to help youth, club leaders should have good organizational and communication skills. They must make at least a one-year commitment to the group and its members. Most clubs meet at least once a month, but some may meet more frequently, depending on the time of year and the project. Meeting times are determined by the 4-H youth development agent and the club leader. Meeting locations vary depending on the topic of the club and the leader’s meeting preference.

September and October are the months that 4-H clubs organize or reorganize for enrolling 4-H members.  Now is the time that potential leaders volunteer and complete their applications and background checks. If you are interested, pick up a club leader application from the Washington County Extension Office located at 211 Progress Avenue in Springfield. Once the applications are received, each candidate is interviewed by the county’s 4-H youth development agent. Those selected as club leaders are given a list of duties and responsibilities from the 4-H agent.

Adult volunteers are always welcome in 4-H and can serve in different capacities, one of which is a club leader.  For more information on becoming a club leader or other volunteer opportunities in 4-H, contact Roberta Hunt at 336-7741 or visit the Washington County Extension Office.

4-H TEEN OPPORTUNITY

4-H is a community of young people across America that learns leadership, citizenship and life skills. For the past two decades, Kentucky 4-H has given youths an opportunity to attend a four-day issues conference to develop such skills.

This year’s 4-H Issues Conference will be Nov. 19-22 at the Lake Cumberland 4-H Educational Center in Jabez. Two or more delegates from each county are selected to attend the conference.  Although the conference fee is $130, Washington Co. teens will pay only $90.  Teens must currently be a sophomore or junior. The deadline for registration is Sept. 30.

The conference is designed to help young people become more involved in shaping public policies about youth-related issues and develop confidence so they can become resources that bring about positive changes in their communities.  Youth also acquire skills to provide leadership for efforts to achieve local changes and become more knowledgeable about issues affecting them. At the conference, delegates make a commitment to apply what they have learned to help plan and carry out community-based programs addressing locally identified youth issues in their communities.    

Each year the conference’s planning committee develops a list of issues affecting young people; then youths interested in attending the conference vote for the top three issues on their registration forms.  The most popular issues are chosen for action-group discussions during the conference.

This year, Washington County 4-Her, Mary Kutter will be serving as the youth chairman for Issues Conference.  Mary was selected after serving on last year’s planning committee and being voted by her peers to serve in the top leadership role for the conference.

For more information on the 4-H Issues Conference or other leadership and citizenship opportunities through 4-H programs, contact the Washington County Extension Office at 336-7741.