Agriculture & Livestock: Enrolling in 4-H for 2012

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Diane Prather

Youth development, life skills, leadership skills, and community service — they’re all part of the 4-H program.

Moffat County 4-H members and leaders just celebrated the end of the 2011 4-H year, and now it’s time to enroll for 2012.

The 4-H ages, as of Jan. 1 of the current enrollment year, are: traditional 4-H: 8 to 18 years old, and Cloverbuds: 5 to 7 years old.

To be eligible for completion of 2012 projects, 4-H enrollment must be received by June 1, 2012.

However, it’s recommended young people enroll from now through Jan. 31, 2012. That’s because clubs get started well before June. Early enrollment is also important for livestock projects.

The fees for enrolling in 4-H are $30 for traditional members and $20 for Cloverclub members. The fee covers the cost of manuals and a membership fee that Moffat County pays to the state.

Members can now enroll in 4-H online, but they must first stop by the Moffat County Extension Office, 539 Barclay St.

If you have a child who has never enrolled in 4-H before, the following information is just for you.

First of all, young people can enroll in a wide range of 4-H projects. Members learn about the project area during the year and then complete the project by finishing a required exhibit and record book.

Members can enroll in a project club with a leader where they learn the skills involved with the project. They may also join a community club.

There are two community clubs in Moffat County — the Elkhead Wranglers and Hamilton Busy Beavers.

In a community club, members elect officers, complete community projects and often host fundraisers. Many 4-H members enroll in a community club and one or more project clubs (depending on the number of projects).

Each 4-H member receives a manual for his or her project. Included in the manual is information about the project area, activities to complete, and record-keeping worksheets.

Records are included with a required exhibit at 4-H Completion Day. Members compete according to age: junior: 8 to 10 years; intermediate: 11 to 13 years; and senior: 14 years and older. That means a senior member can enroll in unit I of a project but will not compete (at 4-H Completion Day) with a junior member in Unit I.

Members have a wide variety of 4-H projects to choose from. Some of the most popular include: model rocketry, livestock, gardening, shooting sports, entomology, electric, geospatial, veterinary science, ceramics, photography, leathercraft, woodworking, clothing construction, foods and nutrition, and many more.

Cake decorating is an example of a popular 4-H project area in Moffat County.

Kandee Dilldine is the leader of “Cakes Are Us,” a project club of about 12 to 18 4-H members who are enrolled in units 1 through 9.

Starting in about March, Dilldine hosts meetings where members can practice cake decorating. Every other week, unit 1 members meet. The advanced members meet during the alternate weeks.

In Unit 1 of cake decorating, the members’ goals are to bake and frost a single-layer cake and to develop skills in combining color, design, and flavors.

During the year, each member must bake and decorate a minimum of four cakes. These are practice cakes, leading up to the exhibit cake that will be judged.

Photographs of the members baking and decorating cakes become part of the records in the cake decorating manual.

During the four to six unit 1 meetings, beginning members practice frosting and decorating the cakes.

“Smoothing the frosting is a big thing in Unit I,” Dilldine said.

In addition, everything on the cake has to be edible and members have to make sure the decorations aren’t too big for the cake.

Cake decorating manuals include directions for baking cakes, making the cake board, frosting recipes, mixing colors, the best colorings, design, borders and covering the cake.

Besides keeping a picture record of cake decorating activities, members also write a log that includes days and times they worked on the project.

Dilldine said advanced cake decorating members work on ways to decorate their cakes using “tips.”

For more information regarding the 4-H program, stop by the Moffat County Extension Office or call 824-9180.

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