Visiting 4-H clubs a highlight of the job

Getting out of the office and into the field is always a highlight of the work I get to do. For me, that means visiting 4-H clubs all over La Plata County.

The focus of my present visits is to deliver club officer trainings. Each 4-H club elects a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, parliamentarian and reporter for the year. These youths have stepped up into leadership roles for their clubs. Throughout the year, they will gain important life skills by learning to work as a team to benefit their community.

Last week, I got the opportunity to train the Mount Allison Go-Getters 4-H Club. They meet at club leader Teddi Baird-Tharp’s house in Allison. I left early from Durango, so I didn’t get too lost on my way out. It always amazes and excites me to know that people are coming together for their community all over the back roads of our beautiful county.

The club officers arrived early to attend the training. The training consisted of each officer becoming aware of the roles and responsibilities that their position entails. For example, club President Amanda Witcher came prepared with a meeting agenda that is a part of her role. In addition, Vice President Keanna Smith came with minutes from the previous meeting as a part of her role. This allowed the team to work together to understand the important business they needed to decide on at the meeting. Group decision-making is vital to any successful club meeting.

4-H clubs follow parliamentary procedure in conducting their meetings. The training addressed the proper way to “make motions” and encourage members to participate in these procedures. Learning how to conduct a meeting that allows for everyone’s voice to be heard is a key element to a club’s success. Club meetings are also a great opportunity for adults to assist youths in their development. Many 4-H clubs are like extended families where you see first-hand the effects that positive youth-adult partnerships can make.

I was very impressed to see the youths conduct the meeting with supportive assistance from the adults. Youths and adults worked together to pass motions on such items as bell-ringing this winter for a community service event, spending club funds for a senior citizen Thanksgiving dinner this Saturday at the Allison Grange, and developing a special committee to work on club bylaws. Furthermore, the training helped the officers during the meeting – they learned about how to make new members feel welcome just as they were announcing two new memberships.

I look forward to getting out to Hesperus, Ignacio and other off-the-beaten-track club locations this winter.

Finally, I would like to announce a fundraiser for the Pine River 4-H Club. The club will host a dance and bake sale from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday at the Spring Creek Community Hall. Wild Country will be providing the music and the proceeds from the night will go to support community service projects for families in need during the holiday season. or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.

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