MOUNT VERNON — Youth in the Ohio State University Extension Knox County 4-H program gathered Saturday morning for the Cloverbud Saturday exhibit at the Memorial Theater Building. At the exhibit, 4-H Junior Fair board members and camp counselors showed off their projects and engaged younger children in the community youth program.
Extension Educator Andrea Rees said the goal of the event was twofold: To introduce new families to 4-H’s program and for returning families to try out new projects. 4-H currently has over 63 clubs and approximately 1,200 members in Knox County.
Youth age 8 and in the 3rd grade on up to 18 can participate in the 4-H program and have their projects and/or animal exhibits showcased at the county fair. The Cloverbud program, on the other hand, is intended for children ages 5 and in kindergarten up to age 8.
Although Cloverbud members can not yet show in the county fair, Extension Educator Jana Mussard said they want kids to become excited about and involved in 4-H as early as possible. The Cloverbud Saturday event was geared toward Cloverbud age children with activities introducing them to 4-H projects.
“Learning by doing” is 4-H’s motto,” Mussard said. By working on projects in a non-formal educational setting, youth learn valuable skills without having to be tested on them.
One of Mussard’s favorite exhibits Saturday let children build miniature catapults using spoons, craft sticks and elastic bands. In building the structure, children exercised their math and science skills and experimented with different weight items. This hands-on, learning by doing experience is one of the most valuable parts of the program for Mussard.
Youth additionally gain leadership skills by participating on the Junior Fair Board and volunteer as camp counselors to mentor younger children, Mussard said.
Lakelyn Parnell and Kayley White have been in 4-H for nine years and brought their horse-showing exhibit to the Saturday event. Both girls have been working with horses since they were one year old and have received three awards at the county fair.
Having joined the program after her sibling, Parnell said her favorite thing about being in 4-H is to meet new people. White, whose mother was also in 4-H, added that she enjoyed going to the fair and hanging out with friends.
It is not uncommon for participants to come into the program through family and word of mouth. Taylor Grossman and Gage Everherdt are cousins. This was Everherdt’s first year in the program after learning about it from Grossman, who had joined in the previous year. The cousins manned a table that let children decorate their own paper bags to bring home their crafts with.
Some of the craft projects available at the event included making slime and building houses with toothpicks and marshmallows.
To engage young children at the event, Katie Lindenan and 2019 Knox County Fair Queen Emma Laymon used six-sided dice with an ice-breaking topic on each side. Kids could answer or engage in the topic with Lindenan and Laymon once they rolled the dice.
Junior Fair Coordinator Samantha Beheler had also been in the 4-H program as a member for nine years before becoming a coordinator. This is Beheler’s fifth fair as a coordinator. Her children are now in 4-H, too.
There are five more Cloverbud Saturday events from March to July. On one Saturday of each month, the 4-H Cloverbud program has a special event to offer. The next event Clover Craft will be held Saturday, March 14, at 160 Columbus Road, for all kids ages 5 to 8 years old.
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