Morris County Youth Benefit From Active 4-H Leadership Opportunities

More than 6 million young people across the country will celebrate National 4-H Week during the first full week of October.  

“This year, October 6-12, these 4-H members and leaders are showcasing the great things that 4-H offers young people. It highlights incredible 4-H youth who work each day to make a positive impact on the community,” said Shandi Andres. 

There are 109 Morris County youth enrolled in the 4-H program as they “learn by doing.” Majority of those 4-H club members joined in this photo taken at the 2019 Morris County Fair. (Photo from Shandi Andres, Flint Hills Extension District Family and Consumer Science agent serving out of the Morris County Extension Service office at Council Grove.)

As the Flint Hills Extension District Family and Consumer Science agent, Andres works closely with Morris County’s 4-H program.

Based in Council Grove’s courthouse, Andres said, “The 4-H program is a nationwide opportunity for youth, ages seven to 19. The young people 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 31 different projects,” Andres noted.

“Many of the projects have knowledgeable adults willing to assist the youth, while other projects are done independently,” Andres said.

It is believed that the first official “Club Week” was proclaimed by Minnesota Governor Christianson in 1926. That was 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 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. It was 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 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 109 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 four youngsters enrolled in Morris County’s Cloverbuds which Amber Davis serves as the dedicated leader,” Andres said.

Flint Hills 4-H Club and the Neosho Valley 4-H Club have members from the Council Grove and Dunlap communities. Dwight Sunflowers has members from the Dwight and Alta Vista area.

White City’s club is Willing Workers, and Burdick Hustlers has members from the Burdick and Wilsey area.

“Currently the largest club is Dwight Sunflowers with 37 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 foods and nutrition with 45 members,” Andres reported.  “The second largest enrollment is in photography which has 44 project members.”

With the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson recently concluded, Morris County had 29 club members exhibiting 71 entries there.

Eight Morris County 4-H club members participated in the photography judging contest at the state fair. The senior team placed 10th, and the intermediate team ranked 14th, Andres said.

Teams also competed in both the horticulture and family and consumer science (FACs) judging contests.

Five Morris County 4-H club members were at the 4-H Livestock Sweepstakes participating in the livestock and meats judging competitions.

The Morris County Shootings Sports Team composed of five 4-H members qualified and participated in national competition.

County 4-H club members also participated in the annual Horse Panorama as well as the Junior Meat Goat Producer Day.

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

“The foundation provides partial funding so Morris County 4-H members can participate in a variety of activities,” Johnson said.

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

“All county 4-H members completing their record books have their annual dues paid for by the foundation,” Johnson said.

First year members of 4-H in Morris County also have the initial membership cost covered by the support group.

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

Financial aid was provided so three county 4-H members could be a part of the Citizenship In Action program.

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

With foundation assistance, nine country 4-H members attended Equifest and participated in the state horse judging contest.

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. 6, from 4 p.m., to 6 p.m.. It will be at the Morris County Community Building, east of Council Grove.

“There will be club booths, project booths, 4-H opportunities displays, project talks, and dog agility demonstrations,” Andres said. “All interested persons are welcomed to attend.”

In the “48 Hours of 4-H” effort, canned goods will be collected during the 4-H Expo to be donated to Care & Share.

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.