Happy New Year. The changing of the calendar year is a great time to hit the refresh button.
The 4-H Youth Development Program in La Plata County is excited for what should be a memorable year. Don’t get me wrong, 2013 was fabulous; however, I am keeping a positive attitude that 2014 will be even better. The beginning of the year is a great opportunity for me to highlight a project and leadership event for young people.
Because I spent a lot of time with my brother and sister-in-law’s dog, Mesa Mae, during the holidays, I just can’t get dogs off my mind.
Many 4-H’ers are part of the Dog Project where they learn showmanship and obedience. Owning an animal is a big responsibility that comes with a lot to learn. This project helps youths learn how to properly select, feed, house and care for dogs. They also will learn about the importance of dogs in our world – past and present.
Some of the project’s fun activities include making a dog-care schedule, identifying dog breeds, discovering good things about mixed-breed dogs and investigating dog-food nutrients.
While the dogs are learning self-control and obedience, 4-H’ers learn skills they will use for the rest of their lives. Those skills include communicating with others, being responsible, planning and organizing, making decisions and practicing leadership.
This project allows older members to help younger ones. They share their experiences and the ups and downs of their projects.
Other Dog Project activities include researching dog vaccination and parasite-control steps, creating a housebreaking plan, preparing for the loss of a dog and developing an obedience-training plan.
Dogs in the 4-H program do not have to be purebred or registered. Some of the most obedient and lovable dogs are those rescued from a shelter. As long as the dog is willing to learn, not aggressive and easy to handle, it is acceptable for the project.
Sign your child today and watch him or her and the dog grow.
In addition to project-based learning, 4-H also offers wonderful leadership events for young people. By joining 4-H, youths are eligible to take advantage of local, state and national leadership events that promote healthy, positive life skills.
This month, senior 4-H members can attend the Leadership Development Conference in Denver. This three-day event will include 4-H’ers from all over the state. They will participate in a variety of activities that build lifelong skills and relationships. The last day also provides a great opportunity for youths to visit the Capitol and meet with our local representatives.
Space is limited. If you would like to attend, call the Extension Office at 382-6463.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Greg Felsen is La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.