by Kate Evans
County 4-H club members have been busy getting ready for this weekend’s Morgan County Expo where their annual projects will be displayed.
Kids’ projects this year include pets, cooking, electricity, woodworking, photography, Rockets Away, poultry, Choose Your Own and first aid, said West Virginia University Morgan County Extension Agent Cindy Smalley.
The younger 4-H Cloverbud member projects are non-competitive and are done just for fun. Older 4-H member projects are judged and graded. Cloverbud members are five through eight years old.
4-H sponsors the Expo’s watermelon-eating contest and donut-eating contest. They also hold their annual cake auction on Saturday afternoon with cakes that the kids bake. The auction is one of their big 4-H fundraisers, Smalley said.
Tuscarorian 4-H Club member Clara Steiner, age 14, has done the horse project for three years. Steiner worked with her cousin’s horse the first year and has spent the past two years working with her neighbor’s horse Eagle, a stallion.
Steiner helps care for Eagle and feeds him some mornings if needed. She brushes him, gives him his hay and has been riding him a lot.
“I’ve always loved horses. They’re really nice to be around and are calming,” Steiner said.
In the early years of her horse project Steiner learned a lot of basic facts about horses along with how to brush them and halter them. In her third year she has been learning about the financial end of having horses-fencing, where you board them and the health of the horse. Steiner said she’s also done cooking and cat projects in her eight years in 4-H.
Steiner hopes to have her own horse someday and would like to be an equine veterinarian. She’d also like to show horses in the future. Steiner said she has enjoyed being in 4-H and that it’s really helped her to be more outgoing.
Other pet projects
Settlers 4-H Club member Monroe Wohleber, age nine, did the Incredible Pig project.
“I learned that pigs need to be fed and watered every day in order to be healthy. I also learned they like compost, even egg shells, but they don’t like pineapple rinds. My favorite part of the pig project was holding the baby piglets after they were born. I also like the funny noises they make and how they ‘bumble’ around in their pen,” said Wohleber.
Mighty Iroquois 4-H Club member Mollie Rebuck, age 13, did the Purrfect Pals cat project where she learned about the proper care and feeding of her cat.
Settlers 4-H Club member Brody Beal, age 11, did the Wiggles and Wags project with his dog Buddy.
“Taking care of Buddy is a lot of work. Not just playing with him, making sure he is fed and watered all the time, up to date on shots and bathed. Loving and playing with Buddy is the easiest thing to do,” Beal said of his project.
Smalley said there are 100 4-H Club members this year, 24 of which are the younger Cloverbuds. 4-H is open to children from kindergarten age to college.
The four Morgan County community 4-H clubs are the Settlers, the Explorers, the Tuscarorians and the Mighty Iroquois. The Settlers meet at Wesley Chapel and are the Berkeley Springs 4-H Club, Smalley said. The Mighty Iroquois meet at Pleasant View Elementary. The Explorers are the Greenwood 4-H Club and the Tuscarorians are the Great Cacapon 4-H club. The community clubs meet once a month.
Another 4-H club is the Relentless Robotics special interest club which meets at the old community building in the former Morgan County Health Department space, she said. They’ll be starting their competitive season soon which runs from August to December. In the spring, club members learn to program and build robotics. Drones were added to the program this year.
The goal of 4-H is to give kids leadership skills that they’ll need moving forward in life, Smalley said. 4-H clubs are run by the kids with adult 4-H advisors overseeing them. Advisors are generally parents or community members. Kids elect their own 4-H club officers.
4-H clubs focus on the four “Hs” of head, heart, hands and health, helping participating youth to develop life skills and positive values, build self-esteem and adopt healthy habits.
4-H clubs also do a community service project every year, Smalley said. The Settlers Club goes to the War Memorial Hospital extended care ward every Christmas and sings to the patients. The Tuscarorians collected diapers and baby wipes for the women’s shelter.
Almost half of the county 4-H members enjoyed a week of camp at Camp Frame, Smalley said. Camp activities include classes, archery, games, sports, crafts and painting. Seven 4-H members participated in the Jackson’s Mill state 4-H camp.
Smalley said she did the 4-H National Science Experiment with the Mighty Iroquois Club in the fall. The experiment’s focus was coding. Kids learned about artificial intelligence and how computers make decisions. Smalley also did Code Your World challenges with intermediate and middle school students.
Smalley said she took a group of 4-H members to Charleston this year to serve as pages at the State Legislature. 4-H club members also go on field trips like roller skating, snow tubing at Whitetail Resort and bowling. This year they went ice skating in Hagerstown.
For more information about 4-H, call the Morgan County Extension Office at 304-258-8400.