NEWBERRY — Newberry County 4-H kick off its 2014 club year on Sept. 1 but could still use volunteers to help with existing and new clubs.
The clubs are open to youths ages 5 to 19, and will include activities such as cooking, robotics, shooting, livestock and archery. Enrollment for clubs is ongoing, and will only end when all spots are filled. To join a club, each youth must pay a joining fee that varies from club to club.
“We started charging in 2010 after 102 years of the clubs being free. This was to help with growing costs,” said Alana West, Newberry County 4-H agent. “The fee for the clubs goes to cost, for instance, the cooking clubs have a $10 entry fee, and then $2 for each class a child participates in, to help purchase the materials needed.”
The seven clubs that are a part of Newberry 4-H can have 10 to 15 members each, but, according to West, membership per club can increase if more adults volunteer to lead. All potential volunteers must go through state and federal background checks to make sure the youths are being left in good hands. Currently there are 10 volunteers for Newberry County.
“If we get more volunteers, not only would that mean more members for the current clubs, but I would be able to begin some other clubs, like a Box Car Club,” said West.
West has already constructed a car with the hope it will inspire people to volunteer or inspire children to encourage their parents or guardians to volunteer.
The Archery Club, which is Newberry 4-H newest club, is happening this year thanks to parents showing an interest in the club, and going ahead with the start up. At the interest meeting held by the volunteers, 60 youths were in attendance, with another 30 who expressed interest, but were unable to attend.
“Volunteers can really make a club happen. Archery is the prime example,” said West. “If even 10 adults decided to volunteer, the clubs we offer would expand exponentially, and we could start even more clubs.”
Kids in the Kitchen is an example of a club that could use the growth. According to West, spots are filling up fast, and if she could even get one more volunteer, it would allow for more youths to participate.
“I think Kids in the Kitchen is so popular because we use themes to show children how to cook,” said West. “In the past, we have had color themes, and we made green brownies using vegetables.”
Clubs are not the only aspect of the new season. West will also be taking part in school enrichment, which takes West to county middle and elementary schools. It is here she will hold a program that goes along with what they students are learning, and help teach students a new skill.
“Topics vary from school to school, but in the past we have covered things like healthy eating and physical development,” said West.
Unlike 4-H clubs, the enrichment program does not cost anything because the program is a part of the classes curriculum and students within that class must participate.
For more information about clubs and school enrichment through Newberry County 4-H, visit www.clemson.edu/extension/county/newberry/programs/4h/ or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NewberryCounty4H.