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Exchange program connects 4-H members across the country

Our La Plata County 4-H Interstate Exchange Program recently returned from an adventure-filled week visiting Wyoming County 4-H in Pennsylvania.

The 4-H Interstate Exchange Program is a two-year commitment that gives our members the opportunity to travel and host youths from different states. This year, eight members, between the ages of 14 and 16 were able to travel to Pennsylvania; and next year we will host the Wyoming County 4-H members here in La Plata County.

The exchange program gives our youths a chance to learn about the culture of another state while living with host families, and an opportunity to build lifelong friendships with other 4-H members from across the country.

Some of the many highlights of the trip included a tour of an old coal mine at 150 feet below the surface, where we learned about the struggles and dangers of being a miner. Then, in honor of us being in the “Electric City” of Scranton, Pennsylvania, we visited the trolley museum and a got to ride a 98-year-old trolley. They also took us to Gettysburg, where we learned all about the history of the battle of Gettysburg and the recovery process after.

Our final day, we went to Hershey’s Park and had an absolute blast riding roller coasters and playing in their water park. Although, all of these activities were amazing, my favorite part was watching our 4-H members bond, play and laugh with each other. It was a wonderful trip and we cannot wait to host our new friends next year.

La Plata County Fair

Over the next few weeks, our 4-H members will be finalizing their record books, finishing their projects and working with their animals to make sure they are show ready. Our pre-fair events will kick off July 30 with our shooting sport shoot, then the next weekend, we have our horse show and gymkhana. The official dates for the 2022 La Plata County Fair are Aug. 10-14.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for our annual fundraiser, the 4-H Community BBQ from 12 to 4 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Durango/La Plata Senior Center lawn. The menu includes: local beef and pork, Olathe corn on the cob, garden salad, country bread from the famous Bread bakery, Serious Texas Bar-B-Q cookies, ice cream and a beverage generously donated from Durango Coca-Cola. Tickets are $10 for adults at the door or $8 in advance and $5 for seniors and children. The barbecue is a fun-filled community event that supports our great local 4-H program, and you will not leave hungry.

Our Junior Livestock Sale is at 6 p.m. Aug. 13. This is a wonderful way to support our local youths. For many 4-H/FFA members, the money they receive from selling their animals is used to pay for their college education. This is your chance to invest in 4-H members and the future of La Plata County by purchasing an animal.

After the auction, at 9 p.m., we will have our Family 4-H Dance on the patio next to the Exhibit Hall. Midnight Backhand will be playing, so make sure you wear your dancing shoes! The cost is $5 per person, and all proceeds go to the La Plata County 4-H program.

For more information about the La Plata County Fair, visit laplatacountyfair.org, check out the Facebook page @Laplatacountyfair or call the La Plata County Extension Office at (970) 382-6465.

Angela Fountain is the La Plata County 4-H youth development agent. Reach her at angela.fountain@co.laplata.co.us or 382-6460.