Livestock, clothing and small animal projects are only a handful of the tasks 4-Hers are undertaking throughout the year.
The week of Oct. 6-12 is National 4-H Week. With over 215 youth enrolled in Box Butte County 4-H and more than 50 adult volunteers, there are many projects, activities and events for 4-Hers to take part in.
Ashley Fenning, Box Butte County Extension Educator, explained that there much more to 4-H than just the fair.
“We have the fair, and that’s more of our traditional side of 4-H with our clubs,” said Fenning. “They take their projects, whether it be livestock or static or clothing to the fair so they can show what they’ve done to the public. Not only do we do the traditional 4-H, we have our nontraditional side. So, right now, I’m going into the second grade classes of Box Butte County and we’re learning about a pumpkin life cycle. We also have our after school enrichment. There’s a lot of things that go into 4-H.”
Fenning said 4-H partners with the Alliance Recreation Center after school program, where she teaches youth a variety of things, such as making a battery from a potato.
“It’s a great learning experience for the kids,” Fenning said. “They can learn leadership skills and entrepreneurship skills, and they can also learn a lot of stuff that goes on with STEM and healthy lifestyles.”
There are a lot of hours youth spend on their projects, Fenning emphasized, though it varies based on the type of project.
“If you do livestock, it’s definitely a little more time consuming,” said Fenning. “A lot of times those kids are looking at buying their next calf at the end of the previous fair. Depending on the project, it can be a year-round thing. If they take a sewing project or a quilting project, those can take a good three months to do a quilt, maybe even longer depending on the size. Sometimes the home environment projects don’t take so long. It depends on the amount of time the kids want to put in their projects.”
Fenning noted that the new enrollment year for 4-H begins on Oct. 16. People can register online at ne.4honline.com. The cost to register for 4-H or Clover Kids is $10. Volunteers can register on the website for free.