Dallas County 4-H Clubs are no longer only about farms, fairs, cooking and showing livestock, as visitors learned at Tuesday’s spring open house at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offices at the Dallas County Fairgrounds.
“Those are still our traditional priorities in 4-H,” said Cindy Watson Pottebaum, county STEM educator, “but a lot of our kids don’t live on farms now, so we offer a wide variety of activities for everyone.” STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
Watson Pottebaum’s official title is extension educator in science, technology, engineering, environment, mathematics and issue programming.
“That’s a lot to fit on a business card,” she said, laughing. “In short, I’m taking over the world.”
The annual open house is a chance for county extension to take things off their shelves and let people see just how much 4-H offers, Watson Pottebaum said.
“This is stuff for our Clover Kids leaders and 4-H leaders,” she said, “but we also lend these kinds of curricular materials to home schoolers and anyone interested in science for kids.”
Aleta Cochran, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach youth coordinator, said not every township in Dallas County has a 4-H Club.
“That’s not the case anymore. Some areas will have three or four clubs, and some won’t have any,” Cochran said. “Schuler Elementary School in Waukee has four clubs, all on robotics,” she said.
“Employers like to see 4-H on a young person’s resumé,” Watson Pottebaum said. “Some of them still understand that 4-H promotes citizenship, healthy living and leadership. Our 4-Hers are confident. They’ve given presentations and shown livestock.”
Nine-year-old Owen Embree was not bashful as he checked out the technology gear at the open house. His mother, Jessica Embree of Adel, said Owen was in Clover Kids last year, which is open to youngsters from kindergarten through third grade, and that he will be in 4-H next year.
Kathy Beni, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach project assistant, said people would be popping in for the spring open house all afternoon. Plates full of cookies. bars and peanut clusters filled the countertops,showing that cooking has not died out.
Summer is also a good time for young people to get involved in 4-H. Children entering first through eighth grades in the fall can attend the ISU Extension’s Taste of Camp program, designed to let youth explore and submerge themselves in the camping experience in a safe, fun and welcoming environment.
This summer’s Taste of Camp will happen at the Iowa 4-H Camping Center near Madrid. Children do not need to be members of the 4-H Youth Development program in order to attend.
Youth entering fifth through eighth grades may attend Full Camp from Wednesday, June 17 at 4 p.m. to Saturday, June 20 at 11 a.m.
Youngsters entering first through fourth grades may attend Mini Camp from Friday, June 19 at 8 a.m. to Saturday, June 20 at 11 a.m.
Taste of Camp fosters in young people an expanding interest, appreciation and knowledge of the natural environment and sciences, according to a program spokesperson. Children develop confidence and leadership skills as they discover, learn and grow.
Camp activities include archery, building a campfire, exploring a marsh, performing skits, singing songs, hiking in nature, splashing in the swimming pool and the option to zip line or do the climbing wall. The latter activities are only available for Full Camp.
Family members are invited to attend the closing ceremony and campfire lunch on Saturday, June 20 at 11:30 a.m.
Cost is based on a three-tier system, which allows for a free-will system for families to pick the level of price that is comfortable and affordable. Tier prices for the Mini Camp: Tier 1: $105, Tier 2: $120 or Tier 3: $140. Prices for the Full Camp: Tier 1: $253, Tier 2: $260 and Tier 3: $285.
Financial assistance is also available through the Iowa 4-H Foundation.
For more information about Dallas County 4-H, call Cindy Watson Pottebaum or Aleta Cochran at 515-993-4281. For more information about Taste of Camp or to register, visit http://bit.ly/TasteofCampDallas or contact Regional 4-H Youth Specialist Jeff Macomber at 515-975-2677 or firstname.lastname@example.org.