Morris County Youth Benefit From Active 4-H Leadership Opportunities

More than 6 million young people across the country today are celebrating National 4-H Week, an annual celebration of 4-H during the first full week of October.  

“This week, October 1-7, these 4-H members and leaders are showcasing the great things that 4-H offers young people and highlights the incredible 4-H youth who work each day to make a positive impact on the community,” according to Lori Bammerlin, Flint Hills Extension District Agriculture and Natural Resources agent who works closely with the 4-H program in Morris County.

There are more 123 Morris County youth enrolled in the Morris County 4-H program as they “learn by doing.” They joined in this photo taken at the Morris County Fair this summer.

Based in the courthouse at Council Grove, Bammerlin said, “The 4-H program is a nationwide opportunity for youth, ages seven to 19, to develop leadership, citizenship and life skills, while participating in hands-on learning.”

The “Learn By Doing” philosophy encourages 4-H members to plan and organize monthly meetings, community service projects, and other club activities, explained Shandi Andres, the district Family & Consumer Sciences agent who also assists the county 4-H program.

There are 35 projects, each providing the participant a chance to explore a new topic, while developing new skills. “Morris County 4-H club members are enrolled in 31 different projects,” Bammerlin noted.

“Many of the projects have knowledgeable adults willing to assist the youth. However, other projects will be done independently at home with assistance from parents,” Andres said.

It is believed that the first official “Club Week” was proclaimed by Governor Christianson in Minnesota in 1926, when he promoted the work of the Boys and Girls Clubs in that state.

National 4-H Week began as an outgrowth of World War II. Following Pearl Harbor, it was decided to postpone holding the National 4-H Camp in Washington, D.C., until the cessation of hostilities.

W. H. Palmer, Ohio 4-H Leader, soon after announced plans for a State 4-H Mobilization Week as a means of focusing the attention of 4-H members on what they might do for national defense. This idea met with favorable response by state leaders throughout the country.

As a result, the Federal Extension Service initiated National 4-H Mobilization Week which was observed annually in 1942, 1943 and 1944. The following year and each year since, it has been observed as National 4-H Week.

According to Bammerlin, there are 123 Morris County youth enrolled in 4-H as members of one of five clubs in the county.

Those clubs include Flint Hills and Neosho Valley in Council Grove, Dwight Sunflowers in the Dwight/Alta Vista area, Willing Workers in White City, and Burdick Hustlers in the Burdick/Wilsey area.

“Currently the largest club is Dwight Sunflowers with 45 members,” Bammerlin said.

Project areas today range from livestock, to foods and nutrition, to shooting sports and space technology.

“Largest 4-H project enrollment in Morris County is shooting sports with 55 members,” Bammerlin reported.  “The second largest enrollment is in the photography project with 34 project members.”

With the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson recently concluded, Morris County had 46 club members with more than 112 entries there.

Eight Morris County 4-H club members participated in the photography judging contest at the state fair, with the intermediate team fourth, and senior team 21st, Andres said.

“During National 4-H Week, we salute the Morris County 4-H members while they become well-rounded citizens as a direct result of their 4-H work,” said Larry Johnson, president of the Morris County 4-H Foundation.

“The Morris County 4-H Foundation provides part of the funding for members of Morris County 4-H members to participate in a variety of activities,” Johnson said.

“Adults Helping Youth to Make the Best Better” is the service group’s motto.

Financial assistance has been provided by the foundation for two members to participate in the Kansas Youth Leadership Form and two members to be a part of Citizenship in Action.

Twenty-three Morris County 4-H members including three counselors received financial support to attend Rock Springs 4-H Camp this summer.

Additionally, with assistance from the Morris County 4-H Foundation, 13 county 4-H members attended Discovery Days, formerly known as 4-H Roundup, at Kansas State University in Manhattan this summer.

Five Morris County 4-H club members also joined in the 4-H Livestock Sweepstakes, competing in livestock judging, a “skillathon” division and a quiz bowl.

The Morris County 4-H Foundation also assists with other specialty camps, and judging schools. It awards college scholarships, gives incentive participation awards and contributes to the annual 4-H Achievement Banquet.

Morris County 4-H members are among the best in Kansas as verified by Makenzie Downes being selected as an area winner qualifying for state competition in the shooting sports and swine projects.

“We thank the community for investing your talent, time and resources to make the county 4-H program a success. We encourage youth to join 4-H for the family experience to benefit communities and the whole county,” said Johnson.

An opportunity to learn more about the Morris County 4-H program is the 4-H Expo planned Sunday, Oct. 8, from 3:30, to 5 o’clock, at the Morris County Community Building, east of Council Grove.

“There will be club booths, project booths, presentations by 4-H club members and door prizes,” Andres said. “It will be followed by the third annual Appreciation Picnic recognizing all supporters of the 4-H program.

“Morris County is participating in 48 Hours of 4-H. Help us out by bringing a canned food item to donate to Care & Share,” Andres invited

Information about the Morris County 4-H program and supporting its activities is available from Bammerlin and Andres at 620-767-5136.