National 4-H Week: Leaders are the backbone of the program

October 5, 2005

A wise man once wrote, “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove ... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

This philosophy tends to be the driving force behind why most Hood River County 4-H Leaders lead in the 4-H program.

While there is not a typical 4-H leader, there is one common thread that can be found in all 4-H leaders: They enjoy working with youth and gain pleasure from watching them grow and learn new skills.

This desire to help youth is the most important trait that a leader can bring to the program.

Ann Holmstrom, from Cascade Locks, represents a 4-H leader who has given much to the Hood River County 4-H program. Ann leads the Holly Creek 4-H club with her husband, Randy.

The projects taken in this club vary as much as the kids involved, which include livestock projects, food projects, gardening and even photography projects. Ann’s role in 4-H does not stop with being a club leader; she has mentored many new leaders by showing them the ropes of being a successful leader.

Ann has taken leadership roles in the 4-H Leaders’ Association, plus she is superintendent of the 4-H Home Economics division and co-superintendent in the 4-H goat division with her husband at the county fair. She has also helped organize many county educational activities and is a judge at county fairs.

Why do individuals choose to be 4-H leaders?

When 4-H leaders were asked the most important benefits they received from working with the 4-H Youth Development Program, they reported that helping children grow in personal self-worth, gaining a better understanding of their community, interacting with others and creating family togetherness at the top of their list.

4-H leaders are the backbone of the 4-H program. The 4-H program can only grow and expand with the help of leaders who work directly with the youth. Each year youth are not able to join a 4-H club because we have no leader to guide the group.

For example we are looking for a clothing leader in the upper valley, a dog leader for the mid-valley area, a fiber arts leader and small animal leader.

The process for becoming a leader starts with the completion of a leader application, which includes reference checks and a background check. Then each new leader is required to attend a New Leader training.

Most all projects have excellent reference materials to help guide the leader in the educational process.

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Anyone who would like learn more about becoming a 4-H Leader may call the Hood River County Extension Office at 386-3343.

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Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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