From Pipi’s Pasture: Joining Cloverbuds

Moffat County’s annual 4-H Achievement Night is less than a week away.

On November 14, 4-H members, their families, and 4-H leaders will celebrate the 2012 4-H year. And then enrollment will begin for the 2013 4-H year.

To join 4-H, a youngster must be 8 years old by December 31. However, there is a 4-H program for younger children, and that’s what this week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” is all about.

Cloverbuds is a program for children of ages 5 to 7, as of December 31.

Jackie Goodnow, from the Moffat County Extension Office, explained that it’s a noncompetitive pre-4-H program in which younger children can explore traditional 4-H project areas. That way, when they’re 8 years old and ready to enroll in traditional 4-H, these kids will have an idea of what it’s all about.

Betty Ann Duzik, Craig Cloverbuds leader, said that beginning about February, Cloverbuds attend weekly meetings that last about an hour each. The meetings are held after school at the Craig Extension Office each Thursday after school and occur from February to June.

During the meetings kids take part in various activities, depending on the ages of the participants. Each year the Cloverbuds plant potatoes and also explore various 4-H project areas.

For example, they might decorate cookies with candies, giving them an idea of what cake decorating is all about. Or they might use paint and stamps to design their own t-shirts, similar to what a 4-H member could do in Decorate Your Duds project.

Duzik said that other 4-H leaders come in to help with specific project areas. Junior leaders help out, too, as well as parents.

“I couldn’t do it without parent help,” Duzik said.

The second to last meeting of the year is held at the fairgrounds, where Cloverbuds get to look at animals and at other project areas, such as entomology. And then the last meeting is a party, held somewhere like the bowling alley (members’ choice).

But that’s not all. Cloverbuds even the experience of giving demonstrations. At this level, it’s much like show and tell.

Examples of past-done demonstrations include making something from Legos, how to make hummingbird food and even making butter.

Duzik said, “At this level it’s important that Cloverbuds just get up and talk in front of a group.”

According to Duzik, although projects done in Cloverbuds aren’t technical, they do fill out papers that serve as a sort of record book. The papers include general information like the Cloverbud’s name, what he or she liked best from activities done during meetings, and photos or drawings of activities.

Duzik said that completing these pages are important because the Cloverbud members have to get used to doing record books.

Then Cloverbud kids take the record pages and something they’d like to display (such as their potato plants) to 4-H Completion Day at the end of July. The displays are not judged, but Cloverbuds are interviewed by judges or Extension Office personnel.

Cloverbud participants receive completion ribbons and sometimes something extra — like little trophies. Most important, finishing the record pages means that the Cloverbud completed the year’s project.

While the Cloverbud program is noncompetitive, finishing the work means that the youngster has completed a year of 4-H. So by belonging to Cloverbuds at a young age, that same 4-H member can “retire” from the program, having completed fourteen to fifteen years.

Goodnow said that enrollment packets for Cloverbuds will be ready by mid-November. There is a $20 enrollment/materials fee. The Extension Office would like Cloverbuds to enroll by the end of January so that meeting dates can start soon after.

Enrollment can be done online. Please contact the Extension Office at 824-9180 if you wish to enroll this way.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2012

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