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Hands-on learning drives summer activities at 4-H

June is always an exciting month for our 4-H members. They are finally out of school, and we get to fill the entire month with fun activities.

Last week, they participated in our Adventure Day Camp. Thirty 4-H members between the ages of 5 and 14 attended. Our goal was to give our youths an opportunity to build life skills by engaging them in hands-on learning.

This year, we were so lucky to have Tosh Black with Durango Fire Protection District teach our members about basic first aid and venomous and dangerous creatures of the Southwest. Our youths really enjoyed learning how to bandage each other for mock first-aid accidents, and they learned about local poisonous snakes and spiders. It was a big hit, and I am so thankful to Tosh and the Durango Fire Protection District for offering such a wonderful program.

We had two local 4-H alumni, Faith and Jordan Baker, teach our members leathercraft skills. We had a blast hammering designs into the leather, and our members created some beautiful coasters and key chains.

There was a full day dedicated to art, where we had a wonderful and very messy time. The morning started with our Rocky Mountain Rough Riders 4-H Club leader, Sara McCourt, as she instructed us about how to create different styles of tie-dye T-shirts, followed by canvas painting, led by the very talented, Crystal Shawcroft.

Crystal walked us through painting a beautiful lake and mountain scene. After lunch, we had a fellow 4-H’er, Audrey Roderick, and her grandmother, Janet Roderick, teach us cake decorating skills. Each member was able to decorate their own cake and take it home to their family.

In 4-H, we always like to include some health tips. So this year, Family and Consumer Science Agent Nicole Clark taught us beginning yoga and how to make healthy, mindful snacks. We discussed the importance of exercise, building muscle and feeding our bodies with the proper nutrients.

Other fun activities included STEM projects with our summer intern and 4-H alumna Skyla Jones. She taught us all about soil composition, how to identify different types of soil and the best kinds of soil to grow healthy plants. We were also able to repot strawberry plants, and each member was able to take a plant home with them.

We also had a half day of building electric model cars. Our youths were given kits that they had to build from the ground up. It was a hard task, but each one of our members did a wonderful job and successfully built a working model car.

4-H has a strong focus on community service and giving back to our community. To that end, our Adventure Day Camp attendees made blankets to be donated to our first responders to give to those in need. Our members did an amazing job making these blankets, and it was a moment of pride for them to see their finished product.

Later this week, we will have two hiking and swimming days, a CPR and first-aid class, followed by our Rumble in the Rockies Jackpot over the weekend.

Next week, our livestock judging team will be competing at the Colorado State Livestock Judging Contest. Locally, we will have our STEM week, where 4-H members will spend each day playing and learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics through hands-on experiences. We will end the week with our Invitational Horse Show and Gymkhana.

The last week in June, 4-H member Shaylee Owen is putting on a weeklong livestock camp, where members from all over the region will learn all about raising, grooming, showing and caring for their livestock.

All of our 4-H events are fun learning experiences for our members, and I couldn’t do any of it without the help of our wonderful 4-H leaders, members, alumni and community members. I would especially like to thank Skyla Jones and Callisto Fowler for all of their help and support this month.

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