I attended the annual Colorado State University Extension Forum in Fort Collins last week.
The forum is an opportunity for Extension agents from around the state to review and plan programming efforts for the coming year. In addition, campus staff members deliver administrative updates and pertinent information for field staff. Also at the forum, exceptional Extension programs are recognized with awards.
With great pleasure, I announce that La Plata County 4-H was awarded first prize in the Come Alive Outside Challenge. This challenge, sponsored by JP Horizons and John Deere, encouraged 4-H clubs and FFA chapters around the state to design projects to engage their communities in an outdoor setting. La Plata County 4-H created and entered the 4-H Giving Back Garden.
The garden project, which was on Old Fort Lewis Incubator Plot land, distributed more than 2,000 pounds of vegetables to people in our community. The garden also hosted 4-H clubs and other youth-serving organizations to participate in growing and maintaining the crops.
A big thanks goes out to Penny Crawford of the Mountain Shadows 4-H Club. Penny took the lead on organizing the planting, weeding and harvesting of vegetables. She also designed and implemented a great Harvest Day festival last month. This festival brought together community members and distributed the remainder of the potatoes, onions and cabbage that we grew.
The first-prize distinction came with an attractive plaque and $1,000. The plaque will go up in the Extension Building, and the money will go toward vegetable seeds and supplies for next year’s garden. Initial plans will expand the garden and focus educational opportunities around healthy eating and food preparation.
Also, earlier this month, 10 intermediate level 4-H members from La Plata County participated in Colorado Leadership Camp. This camp took place in Glenwood Springs and attracted more than 200 4-H members from around the state.
Attendees were taught important life skills through group activities. In addition, as a community service activity, all members packed and wrapped holiday gift boxes to be sent to families in developing countries around the world.
These trips also are great team building opportunities for our local youth. Members form new bonds with other 4-H’ers from around our county. It is great to see these relationships flourish throughout the year.
La Plata County 4-H is really blessed to provide such wonderful experiences to our members. We also have a whole lot of fun. Leadership camp included going to the hot springs and having a pizza party.
4-H offers many important life and leadership skills trainings throughout the year. These skills include but are not limited to public speaking, interview, demonstration and decision making.
Youths learn at an early age the importance of self-esteem and compassion toward others. Enrollment has begun for the 2014-15 year. Come join a club today and take advantage of these great opportunities.
email@example.com or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.