Youth develop leadership, life skills through Moffat County 4-H | CraigDailyPress.com

Youth develop leadership, life skills through Moffat County 4-H

2017 enrollment is open now until Feb. 28

— About 200 volunteers help Moffat County youth to develop leadership and life skills through 4-H.

"Without our volunteer leaders, 4-H doesn't exist. They are the backbone of every 4-H program across the country," said Moffat County Extension Office Director J.D. Sexton.

Cooperative Extension — a community of more than 100 public universities — provides young people in every county and parish across the nation opportunities to learn through hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and citizenship, according to 4-H.org.

Enrollment of youth and adult leaders kicked off on Tuesday night with an open house at the extension office.

"We were really pleased with the turnout," said Moffat County Extension Office Administrative Supervisor Jackie Goodnow. "I think we were up from last year. We had quite a few new families which was good."

4-H Members encourage others to join

Lauren Hilley, Jentry Bacon, Joey Winters, Mackenzie Schneider and Tara Brumlow are all in their sixth year in 4-H. They encourage families to get involved.

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"It looks great on a college resume. A lot of great traits come from it, responsibility and how to be a good citizen. You can take away so much from it and it can impact the rest of your life," Hilley said.

Raising breeding and market beef and competing in shooting sports is Bacon's way of learning the customs and culture of the community.

"It's what our community is based on," he said.

Winters also participates in shooting sports and raises pigs and goats and said that 4-H "teaches you to become a leader."

Spending about 10 hours a week on 4-H shooting sports, Schneider said she "likes the competition."

In addition to providing children with life and leadership skills, 4-H can strengthen families.

"I have to say when you are in 4-H it's like an extended family and you meet lots of people," Brumblow said.

Her mother, Heather Brumblow, has been a scrapbooking project leader for the past four years.

"4-H is not just about livestock. We strive to get the child out of their shell and build self-confidence and self esteem. Plus they make a lot of friendships, lasting ones," Heather Brumblow said.

Helping their son create social bonds is one of the reasons Tony and Sara Santistevan enrolled their son Dustin in the program during the open house.

"Our child has no social life and we want our child to have a better social life," said Tony Santistevan. "We are just learning about it, but it seems like it is going to be an exciting journey."

All 4-H children receive guidance from adult mentors.

Seeking volunteers

"We are always looking for volunteer help. It allows us to provide more to the youth of Moffat County," Sexton said. "A lot of our leaders were 4-H members when they were youth and want to give back to the program that gave to them."

Elkhead Wranglers 4-H Community Club Co-leaders Chris Rhyne and Kacey Green both participated in 4-H as children.

"It doesn't really matter what you are interested in there is a project to suit your needs including gardening, rocketry, science technology and math programs," Green said.

Rhyne said that the opportunities offered through 4-H are much bigger than county or state fairs. For example, Green became a livestock judge and Rhyne was able to participate in exchange programs.

"I think it's one of the greatest youth organizations that our community offers, they get such a wide range of skills and family support," Green said.

Leaders must have a desire to work with children.

"If there were people that specifically had an interest in family consumer science, sewing, clothing construction, preservatives, wood working and mechanical science and enjoy working with kids, that would be their ticket to becoming a 4-H leader," Sexton said.

Leaders must complete an enrollment packet including three references and a background check through Colorado State University.

"Our doors are always open if anyone has questions and we are always looking for volunteers," Goodnow said.

To become a 4-H leader register online at CO.4Honline.com.

Children have until Feb. 28 to enroll in 4-H at Moffat County Extension Office at 539 Barclay Street in Craig.

Registration costs $20 for children under 8 to participate in Cloverbuds and $30 for children 8 and older to participate in traditional 4-H.

For more information contact the extension office at 970-824-9180.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.