PRESTON — You’ve heard of 4-H. You recognize the engraved clover symbolizing head, heart, hands and health.

That’s what the kids do for the county fair, right? Yes, and so much more. Name a subject or an interest and it can be done through 4-H. The options are endless, bounded only by the collective knowledge and participation of our community.

I’ve worked with Boy Scouts for years and so was excited by the opportunity to work with youth through the 4-H program as part of my job as a University of Idaho Extension educator. What I didn’t realize was how the program operated and just how many options there are.

Did you know the Extension Office has bows, pellet guns and .22 rifles? Did you know we have sewing machines (including sergers) and exercise equipment? We have leatherworking and woodworking tools, rocket building kits and even rubber animal feet and fish for learning the basics of casting and mold making.

We have a number of Insta-Pots, a Bosch mixer and many other cooking necessities. We have several laptops and copious craft supplies. The other day I even saw two boxes full of realistic looking food including a taco, cookie, baked potato, pork chop and even a bowl of raspberries…all made from rubber. The point is that all the supplies and equipment have been or are now used in 4-H classes. The variety is endless.

Idaho’s 4-H program wouldn’t exist without its thousands of volunteers. Just last week a local hobby geologist helped teach classes that culminated in a field trip to Red Rock Pass in our very own school bus (Yes, we have one of those, too.)

If you have an interest or hobby and a desire to share that with others, 4-H is an excellent avenue. I don’t know anything about computer programing, but I bet there are several in our community that do. The same could be said about robotics, coin collecting, painting, fly tying, gardening, cosmetics or Dutch oven cooking. Whatever your passion it can be turned into a 4-H class, curriculum or club.

How it works: If you are interested in volunteering your commitment can be tailored to your needs. You can teach a single class (called a day camp) or a series of classes (curriculum). You can also become a club leader and run several activities throughout the year. The Extension Office can help you work out details.

What we need from you is simply your knowledge and experience in whatever interests you. You choose the age group and number of kids to work with. We help you get the resources to carry out the activity. Small costs are covered through sign-up fees. If more funds are needed, we can seek grants or other avenues to get equipment necessary.

A 4-H club is a group that meets and is run locally, so it can respond to local needs. Club members typically complete one or more age-appropriate projects per year and present them at the county fair.

Visit https://www.uidaho.edu/extension/county/franklin or on Facebook at University of Idaho Extension, Franklin County Extension and 4-H to see what is happing in Franklin County 4-H or https://www.uidaho.edu/extension/4h to see what is going on around Idaho. Then call 852-1097 or stop by and visit with us at 561 West Oneida. I think you’ll be happy with the outcome.

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