4-H is great

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

First I would like to introduce myself as the new Purdue Extension County Director and 4-H Youth Development Educator for Putnam County. This column will appear weekly in the Monday edition and rotate between Consumer Family Science Educator Jackie Baumann, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator Ann Delchambre and I.

After completing the second week of being in the position, there is reason for more excitement than the very first day. First and foremost, the more than 80 volunteers who serve as the spokes in the wheels advancing the 4-H program have been super supportive. Many have called to offer assistance and stated, "Let me know if you need anything or if I can help," which are always good words to hear.

The Junior Leaders are 4-H'ers in grades 7-12 who are willing to step forward and go beyond the learning activities the projects that they have worked on during previous grades. It was really neat to see the leadership and willingness to participate last Tuesday during the group's first meeting of the year. There were typically between three to six youth that stepped forward and accepted being nominated for an office. These youth introduced themselves and stated why they were seeking the office for which they had been nominated.

Bottom line, it was great to see these 4-H'ers stepping up and accepting responsibility. It will be exciting to see their community service efforts and projects throughout the rest of the year.

Rising to become a 10-year 4-H member shows significant commitment and is a prestigious honor which more than 40 of our local youth are aspiring towards in 2009. During a survey of last year's 10-year 4-H members, these youth were asked about the perceived benefits of being in 4-H specific to a list of life skills. The top identified life skills where 4-H program involvement had moderate or major influence included the following for Putnam County 4-H'ers: wise use of resources, planning/organizing, goal setting, decision making, social skills, cooperation, communication, leadership, citizenship, self motivation/esteem/responsibility and character.

Youth grades three through 12 are welcomed to join 4-H and are reminded that the deadline to enroll is April 1. The program is not strictly about the important lessons learned from showing livestock or farm activities.

There are nearly 50 projects that include shooting sports, scrapbooking, photography, sewing, aerospace, ATV safety, small engines and model building crafts. Call the office to sign up. If your eligible family members have already enrolled, encourage a friend or relative.

You can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee.

Upcoming Events

Feb. 17: Small Farms Roundtable, Courthouse Annex, 6 p.m.

Feb. 26: PARP Program, Vigo Co. Fairgrounds 8 a.m.

Feb. 27-28: Indiana Cattle & Forage Symposium, Indianapolis

Feb. 28: Indiana Sheep Symposium, Noblesville

Feb. 28: Advanced Master Gardener Training, Fairgrounds, 8 a.m.

March 3: Consumer Family Science Spring Conference, Clay County, 4:30 p.m.

March 7: Extension Homemakers Past Presidents' Garage Sale

March 9: Versatile Vinegar Lesson, Courthouse Annex, 11 a.m.

March 9: Where Does Your Money Go, 3 p.m. or 6 p.m.

March 10: Aquaculture Program, Spencer, 7 p.m.

March 13-14: Putnam County Lawn & Garden Show

March 14: Central District 4-H Judge/Leader Clinic, Lebanon, 8:30 a.m.

March 17-19: Putnam County Ag Day Events

March 31: Fish Cage Construction Workshop, Spencer, 6 p.m.