It’s about animals — and just about anything else — when it comes to being in 4-H.
“You learn a lot — leadership skills and life skills you need in the future,” said Mandy Brown of Townville, a member of the Wranglers 4-H Club for the past 10 years.
There are 49 4-H Clubs across Crawford County covering a wide variety of activities for kids ages 8 through 18.
Many of them were out this past weekend at sites around the county promoting their activities.
While there are a variety of animal clubs, covering everything from rabbits to cattle, there’s also a variety of family living clubs, said Wanda Braymer, the 4-H coordinator for the Crawford County Cooperative Extension Service Office.
“Family living is anything that’s not animals,” she said. “It’s photography, computers, rocketry, sewing, theater arts. Name an interest and we’ll find a project for it.”
4-H’ers often are members of more than one club, too, she said.
Braymer said another misconception about 4-H is people think they have to live on a farm. More than half of the 1,310 kids in the county enrolled in 4-H don’t live on farms, she said.
Many students are involved with in-school 4-H projects like embryology (raising chickens from eggs), Braymer said.
There are some 631 students in traditional 4-H clubs with about 400 of them living on farms.
Members like Brown, who raises pigs as a 4-H project, says living on a full-fledged farm isn’t necessary.
“You just have to have a back yard and a building to house the animal,” she said.
Often, 4-H members who don’t live on a farm will house their animals at a relative’s farm or they have a neighbor who has a farm.
Matt Mumford of Townville has been in 4-H for nine years and loves it.
“I like raising the animals and learning about them — how to take care of them,” he said.
Greta Johnson of Centerville has been involved in 4-H for more than six years. The first six years were in a sewing club and this is her first year in Townville Petable Pets where she is raising goats.
“My mom was in a sewing 4-H club and my sister was interested in goats the last couple of years,” said Johnson who was wearing an “I love goats” sticker at Saturday’s 4-H Promotion Day at the Downtown Mall. “You just have fun. You learn different things and you do community service, too.”
Training youth to be responsible leaders of the next generation is part of the 4-H philosophy, according to Braymer.
“Our goal is to keep them involved,” she said. “It’s developing work ethic, personal skills and management skills.”
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at email@example.com