County 4-H clubs, members participate in service day
AFTON Many hands make light work—especially if those hands are attached to 4-H members.
On Saturday, more than 165 4-H members from 10 clubs spent the morning working throughout Rock County as part of Youth Service Day.
Clubs cleaned up rural cemeteries and roadways, did yard work for people with disabilities and made fleece blankets for the Ronald McDonald House.
It’s an event that takes place every year, said Kyle Held, 18, president of the Rock 4-H Club.
This year, 10 members of his club and a handful of adult co-leaders were cleaning up the Afton cemetery in the town of Rock.
They raked up gravel that had been pushed around by the plows, collected leftover Christmas decorations and picked up branches, sticks and other debris left behind by winter.
In the past, the group has worked at the Rock Town Hall, doing gardening and yard work. “It shows you can do good things and still have fun,” Held said.
Which would probably be a good motto for 4-H.
Many of the clubs are recruiting new members in advance of the busy summer season.
For most city residents, 4-H is synonymous with showing animals at the fair.
But 4-H was designed to teach young people leadership skills. The clubs are run by kids with adults serving as “co-leaders.”
Along with such activities as service day and showing animals at the fair, 4-H allows young people to try out activities as diverse as photography, model making, woodworking, cooking, painting and horseback riding.
Kevin Gunn is the co-leader for Rock 4-H, and he said that service day was part of the 4-H concept.
“The whole township has been hugely supportive of us, and we’d like to return the favor,” Gunn said.
Patty Turner, who cares for the cemetery with her sister, Margie Pakes, said the club’s work saves “a ton of time.”
Leci Gunn, 6, was part of the group helping with cleanup. Gunn is in Cloverbuds, a kind of pre-4-H club. She gets together with other kids her age. Next summer, she will have the chance to participate in “judged” events at the fair. The “judges” gently quiz the kids about something they have made with the help of their parents or leaders.
On Saturday, however, she wasn’t quite ready to be quizzed by anyone.
When asked if she liked Cloverbuds, she broke into a wide smile, but was too shy to translate that smile into words.