The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 26, 2011

Moo-ve over ag: 4-H is about so much more

By Kasey Fowler, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Approximately 400 4-H members in Garfield County have been doing and, by extension, learning a lot lately.

The 4-H objective is to help youth develop into useful and responsible citizens and leaders. The national organization also promotes activities that help members develop a cooperative spirit.

“Learning by doing is our motto. Almost everything we do is hands on,” Cindy Conner, Garfield County 4-H extension educator, said.

Recently, 4-H members participated in Oakwood Mall Day. The members maintained booths from where they shared information ranging from how sweater material originates and hunting tips to the amount of sugar in commonly consumed beverages.

“It gives them the ability to speak to the public. It helps give them leadership skills,” Connor said of working the booths.

Conner said it is a common misconception 4-H is only about agriculture.

“We do agriculture, and we started in agriculture, but we have so much more. We are so broad with so many things for everyone,” she said.

The 4-H organization now is focusing on helping reduce childhood obesity through education.

“One of our emphases is childhood obesity because Oklahoma is at the top with childhood obesity. You don’t want to be at the top with obesity,” Conner said.

Toward that end, Garfield County 4-H members participated in a food showdown. They were tasked with creating a plate of food from products provided, calculate the food’s nutritional value and assign the food into the nutritional pyramid.

Some members also participated in a video project, “Eat This Not That,” that emphasized the importance of eating healthy food.

4-H promotes good citizenship with in the community through its service projects, Conner said.

“We raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House. We visit the Ronald McDonald House in Oklahoma City to give them the money. We also bring useful items and sometimes we volunteer,” she said.

The members also have made kits for children coming into the emergency room or hospital with crayons and other fun items.

“We feel like we are making a difference,” Conner said, “not only the adults involved but the kids too.”

Anyone interested in being a part of 4-H can call Conner at 237-1228.

4-Hers must between the ages of 9 and 19. Children 5 years old through third grade can be a part of Cloverbuds.

“It gives them a sense of belonging,” Conner said, “in a safe environment with adult supervision.”