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 4-10, 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.” Many of those 4-H club members joined in these photos taken at the 2020 Morris County Fair. (Photo from Shandi Andres, Flint Hills Extension District agent.)

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 18. 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 107 Morris County youth enrolled in 4-H as members of five clubs in the county.  Clubs include Burdick Hustlers, Dwight Sunflowers, Flint Hills, Neosho Valley and Willing Workers.

The 4-H Cloverbuds program, a predecessor to 4-H membership, although not a requirement, is for five-and six-year-olds. “There are eight youngsters enrolled in Morris County’s Cloverbuds which Amber Davis serves as the dedicated leader,” Andres said.

“Currently the largest club is Dwight Sunflowers with 39 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 49 members,” Andres reported.  “The second largest enrollment is in photography which has 48 project members.”

A number of Morris County 4-H members were a part of virtual competitions which were conducted despite not being an official Kansas State Fair this year.

“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.

“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.

Typically assisting with costs of Morris County 4-H members to attend camp at Rock Springs Ranch, the event was canceled due to coronavirus.

Financial assistance was provided by the Morris County 4-H Foundation for county 4-H club members to participate in a number of competitions.

Four Morris County 4-H club members placed 11th in the intermediate division photography judging contest at the state fair. Team members included Castyn Andres, Cooper Andres, and Laramie Mayer.

In the family and consumer sciences (FACs) judging contest were Castyn Andres, Cooper Andres, Macy Hensley, Jacob Kasten and Haylee Nielsen.

Morris County 4-H club members were at the 4-H Livestock Sweepstakes participating in three divisions: livestock judging, meats judging and skillathon.

Competing in the various divisions were Castyn Andres, Cooper Andres, Gavin Carson, Gus Carson, Carissa Dalquest, Cassidy Dalquest, Gus Wainwright and Mandy Wainwright. Carissa Dalquest was 10th high individual overall in the livestock division.

In the horse judging contest at Equifest in Salina, Morris County competitors included Castyn Andres, Cooper Andres, Gavin Carson, Laramie Mayer, Gus Wainwright and Mandy Wainwright.

Mandy Wainwright was on the first place horse judging team composed of Flint Hills District and Dickinson County 4-H club members. Cooper Andres was fifth in intermediate horse judging reasons competition and sixth overall in the intermediate horse judging contest.

Morris County had several 4-H members qualify for state competition in shooting sports before the events were shut down due to health concerns. Carly Wells qualified in pistol shooting, while Joey Andres and Castyn Andres qualified in BB gun shooting.

Five Morris County 4-H members participated in the Horse Panorama including Laramie Mayer, Ronnie Mayer, Ransom Tiffany, Taylor Tiffany and Mandy Wainwright.

The Morris County 4-H Foundation also assists with other specialty camps, and judging schools. The group 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.

Due to the change in mass gathering for Morris County being limited to 25, the 4-H Expo has been transitioned to a virtual event for members to post videos about projects, activities, and clubs.

In the “48 Hours of 4-H” effort, clubs are still encouraged to gather donations of dry goods and deliver to Care and Share.

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