Farm Horizons, Aug. 2018

Wright County 4-H program celebrates 100 years

By Jennifer Von Ohlen

For the past 100 years, the Wright County 4-H program has been helping area youth develop their heads for clearer thinking, their hearts for greater loyalty, their hands for larger service, and their health for better living.

Established in 1918, the Wright County 4-H program originally started as a place where youth could learn agriculture and homemaking skills such as how to grow corn and do canning.

Although the subject matter has changed over time, much of the learning process has remained the same, primarily functioning through projects and demonstrations.

“While agriculture is still an important part of our heritage, the opportunities that a 4-H member can be involved with span from robotics to photography to performing arts, and so much more,” stated Wright County 4-H program coordinator Kelly Strei.

4-H’ers have the opportunity to attend camps, join projects, and serve in leadership roles in addition to the clubs they are already involved with.

According to the group’s website, 4-H’ers also have their hands in investigating solutions for national problems, such as global food security, climate change, sustainable energy, childhood obesity, and food safety.

“The leadership opportunities [within 4-H] have created some amazing adults,” stated Strei, “and we are proud of every single one of them.”

In celebrating the impact Wright County 4-H’ers have made to their community, country, and world over the years, the organization hosted a county-wide service day, had a medallion hunt, created centennial-themed T-shirts and road signs, and has been working on a few projects.

The most intensive endeavor the group has been tackling is constructing a video that highlights selected stories from current and previous 4-H members, parents, and volunteers on how Wright County’s 4-H program has impacted their lives.

“This has been a very interesting and heartwarming project,” shared Strei, “to see how important 4-H has been in the lives of many people.”

Any Wright County 4-H alumni interested in sharing their story can contact Strei at 763-682-7394.

4-H projects

When it comes to helping 4-H’ers pick a club or project area, the organization encourages members to “choose something you like and dive into it.”

Wright County 4-H has 22 active clubs.

4-H is open to kindergarteners through one-year high school alumnis.

Project areas include:

• Science, technology, engineering, and math (i.e. entomology, video, shop – wood and metal, tractors and small engines, and computers and programming);

• Citizenship and leadership (i.e. citizenship, youth leadership, global connections, and community pride and service learning);

• Healthy living (i.e. health, safety, bicycling, consumer education, and food and nutrition);

• Animal science (learning how to care for, raise, judge, train, and show specific animals and explore careers in this field);

• Expressive arts and communication (i.e. photography, performing arts, needle arts, and quilting)

• Outdoor recreation (i.e. shooting sports and wildlife, fishing, wildlife biology)

• Family and consumer science (i.e. consumer education, clothing and textiles, food and nutrition, child and family development)

• Gardening and agriculture (gardening, crop and plant science, fruits and vegetables, and animal science); and

• Environment and earth science (i.e exploring the environment, geology, forest resources).

For more information on 4-H programs across the state, visit the website: extension.umn.edu/4-h; Twitter (mn4h); Facebook Minnesota4H; or blog at blog-mn4hnews.extension.umn.edu.

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