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Busy Time of Year for Hopkins County 4-H! By Johanna Hicks

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Busy Time of Year for Hopkins County 4-H!

Our staff recently had the privilege of meeting with a business owner to tell her about the 4-H program in Hopkins County.  We always enjoy bragging on our 4-H kids!  Four of our members made front page headlines in 2016 because of their accomplishments!  Hopkins County has five 4-H clubs: Arbala Harvest, Dike, Infinity, Miller Grove, and Paws (a school-based club).  We also have a Vet Science Special Interest Group, as well as STEM Club.

One misconception that we constantly battle is that you must have an animal project to be in 4-H.  That is simply not true!  As a matter of fact, over 50% of our 4-H members DO NOT have animal projects.  The project for which the most youth sign up for is Foods & Nutrition, followed Horticulture, Clothing & Textiles, and Shooting Sports.  We also have good participation in STEM/Robotics.  Does that surprise you?  These numbers not only reflect Hopkins County interests, but are true across the state of Texas, as well!  Leaders, volunteers and parents play a very important role in helping our youth explore these projects and excel through participation in events and contests.

An event that is especially beneficial to our older 4-H members is the 4-H Exchange Trip.  We have participated in two exchanges – one with Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and one with Smyth County, Virginia.  For each exchange, we hosted a group in Hopkins County one year, and traveled to their location the next.  Our former 4-H Agent, Juli Hutchens, is employed with the Montana Extension service, and they have invited our 4-H’ers to travel to Sanders County, Montana this summer.

There are several benefits of participating in a 4-H Exchange program.  These include: strengthening responsibility (taking care of individual luggage, personal belongings); learning that getting out of their comfort zone is often a good thing; strengthening adaptability and cooperation; honing leadership skills; and learning about America and our many diverse cultures.

Basic guidelines for participation include:

1)      Participants must be registered in Hopkins County 4-H (this includes sponsors).

2)      Applicants must have completed grade 6 thru 12 at the time of the trip.  Sponsors will be accepted as needed.

3)      Each participant will be expected to attend planning meetings and help with fund raisers.

4)      Participants will  be expected to dress and act appropriately as representatives of Hopkins County.

Applications and guidelines for the trip are now available, and the deadline has been set for Friday, January 20.  After applications are received, participants will be contacted to set meeting dates and discuss fund raisers.  The tentative dates of the trip are July 22 thru July 30.  4-H Leader and Dike 4-H Club Manager, Margaret McDonald, has begun looking at the route, so we will be researching places to stop and things to do along the route to Montana.

Another fun  event scheduled for Hopkins County 4-H’ers is the Sewing Fun Day, Food Challenge, and Consumer Decision-Making Practice.  These events are scheduled for Saturday, January 28, at the Extension Office, beginning with the Sewing Fun Day at 10:00 a.m. and the mock Food Challenge and Consumer Decision Making  Contest at 1:00 p.m.   Here’s what each event entails:

–          Sewing Fun Day:  We will be making Alzheimer’s Activity Mats, using zippers, ribbon, Velcro, and other items.  These are great manipulatives for individuals suffering from dementia.   All materials will be provided, but if you have items that you would like to include, please feel free to bring them.  Simple make-and-take sewing projects will also be available.  For those who want to get a jump start on preparations for the 4-H Fashion Show, you may bring your pattern, fabric, and notions, and I will help you get started.

–          At noon, we’ll break for lunch, so bring a sack lunch and we’ll provide the drinks.

–          At 1:00 p.m., we’ll have a mock food challenge.  This is similar to the TV program, “Chopped.”  4-H’ers will work in teams to create a dish from the ingredients provided, then give a brief presentation on the steps of preparation, which food groups are involved, and food safety.   In another room, we’ll have a mock Consumer Decision-making Contest.  A scenario is provided along with 4 item choices related to the scenario.  The 4-H’er will determine the best item based on the given scenario and rank the items 1 thru 4, followed by giving reasons for the ranking.  This is a great event that prepares 4-H’ers for the real world!

In order to make adequate preparations, 4-H’ers are asked to contact our office at 903-885-3443 if they plan to attend all or portions of the day’s events.

Perhaps the event that receives the most publicity is the annual Junior Market Show.  The dates are February 23, 24, and 25, at the Hopkins County Civic Center Arena.  4-H and FFA members from all across northeast Texas will converge on Sulphur Springs with their heifers, steers, swine, goats, sheep and poultry.  If you’ve never watched this, it is an amazing site to see.  A big thanks goes to all the volunteers, parents, and leaders who make this event a success!

The Bobby McDonald Memorial County 4-H Roundup contests will take place on two separate evenings – Tuesday, February 28, and Thursday, March 2.  Tuesday events will include the county 4-H Fashion Show, Fashion Storyboards, Food Show, and Food Challenge.  Thursday events will include Educational Presentations, Public Speaking, Share-the-Fun, and Consumer Decision-Making.  Details for each contest are in the latest 4-H Gazette newsletter.  A new venue to hold these contests has been offered to us, so please call the Extension Office if you have questions.

Whew!  There’s a lot going on in Hopkins County 4-H!  If you would like more information on these events, or how to join 4-H, give us a call at 903-885-3443 and we’ll be glad to help.


Closing Thought

“Do just once what others day you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again” – James R. Cook

Johanna Hicks
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Family & Consumer Sciences
1200-B W. Houston
P.O.Box 518
Sulphur springs, TX 75483
903-885-3443 – phone
903-439-4909 – Fax
[email protected]

Author: Staff Reporter

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