Diane Prather: 4-H leaders needed

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Diane Prather

Moffat County 4-H is looking for project leaders in the following General 4-H project areas:

• Forestry, wildlife, outdoor adventures, and sport fishing.

• Model rocketry.

• Small engines.

• Woodworking.

• Baking/foods and nutrition.

“4-H project leaders are an essential link between the Extension Office and 4-H membership,” said Jackie Goodnow, of the Moffat County Extension Office. “Leaders are advisors, mentors, and educators of 4-H youth.”

When young people enroll in 4-H, they choose one or more project areas that interest them.

From the time of enrollment until the completion date (this year it’s July 31 for general projects), 4-H members follow the directions in their project record books to learn about the project area and to prepare exhibits for Completion Day.

And that’s where the project leaders come in.

After leaders get a list of the 4-H members enrolled in their project areas, they decide on meeting places and dates for club meetings.

Sometimes leaders and members give their clubs names like “Sharp Shooters,” “Shots in the Dark,” and “Cakes ‘R Us,” all examples of Moffat County project clubs.

Each leader reviews project literature/curriculum for the project area. This provides direction for both leader and members. Included in the information are lots of ideas for activities and items that might be exhibited at Completion Day.

Sometimes 4-H members give demonstrations about their project during club meetings. And beyond the basics, the project curriculum also gives the leader ideas on ways to connect the project skill to life skills that will be invaluable to youth throughout life.

The leader helps members determine their personal goals for the project area. During the time the project club meets, 4-H members complete records as directed by the project record book.

The leader helps members decide on information to be included in the record book, such as photos and other required information. The project record book serves as a record of the member’s completion of the project and will be exhibited at Completion Day with other required items.

Each leader studies the 4-H Newsletter sent out monthly to provide members with important dates and opportunities available.

It’s important members know the requirements and prerequisites as far as eligibility for exhibits entered at General Project Completion Day. This is another way leaders help members.

For example, if a display board is required for a project exhibit, the leader guides the members as to the size of the board, where the boards can be obtained, the type of lettering to be included on the boards, etc.

Leaders also check out requirements for State Fair exhibits.

Leaders make sure 4-H members get their exhibits entered on time during Completion Day, and sometimes leaders help out with the check-in and judging events that day, too.

“Project leaders are very important to the 4-H program,” Goodnow said. “It is these special interests that motivate youth to become 4-H members. Project leaders help members learn skills that they will use throughout life, help members reach goals, serve as role models and give youth in 4-H an important connection with a caring adult.

“We are very thankful to all of our 4-H volunteers for donating their time and skills to work with youth in the project setting. Without caring adults, the 4-H program would not be as successful.”

If you are interested in donating your time to become a 4-H project leader, call the Moffat County Extension Office, 539 Barclay St., at 824-9180.

This year’s General Project Completion Day is July 31. The Moffat County Fair is August 6-11. The Extension Office/Fair Board is looking for volunteers to help with these events, too. Contact the Extension Office if you’d like to help out.

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