Morris County Youth Benefit From Active 4-H Leadership Opportunities

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

“This year, October 7-13, 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 Shandi Andres, Flint Hills Extension District Family and Consumer Science agent who works closely with the 4-H program in Morris County.

There are 119 Morris County youth enrolled in the Morris County 4-H program as they “learn by doing.” They joined in this photo taken at the 2018 Morris County Fair.

Based in the courthouse at Council Grove, Andres 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, Andres explained.

There are 35 projects, each providing the participant a chance to explore a new topic, while developing new skills. A number of divisions are within many of the projects.

“Morris County 4-H club members are enrolled in 30 different projects,” Andres noted.

“Many of the projects have knowledgeable adults willing to assist the youth, while other projects will be done independently,” 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 having 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 Andres, there are 119 Morris County youth enrolled in 4-H as members of five clubs in the county.  

The 4-H Cloverbuds program, a predecessor to 4-H membership, although not a requirement, is for five-and six-year-olds. “There are three enrolled in Morris County’s Cloverbuds,” Andres said.

The  county 4-H 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 52 members,” Andres 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 in shooting sports and foods and nutrition each with 45 members,” Andres reported.  “The second largest enrollment is in the photography with 43 project members.”

With the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson recently concluded, Morris County had 38 club members with 98 entries there.

Eight Morris County 4-H club members participated in the photography judging contest at the state fair, with the intermediate team seventh and the senior team 15th, Andres said.

Three Morris County 4-H club participated in judging competition at the 4-H Livestock Sweepstakes, competing in livestock judging

“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 Forum and two members to be a part of Citizenship in Action.

Eighteen Morris County 4-H members including one counselor received financial support to attend Rock Springs 4-H Camp this summer.

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

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.

 “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. 7, from 4 p.m., to 6 p.m., at the Morris County Community Building, east of Council Grove. All interested persons are welcomed to attend.

“There will be club booths, project booths, 4-H opportunities displays, project talks, and dog agility demonstrations,” Andres said. “An appreciation picnic begins at 5:15, recognizing supporters of the 4-H program.”

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