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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Starting the New 4H Year with a Plan!

The parents met tonight for our annual parent meeting.  We were a small group (10 of us!) but came with lots of great ideas.  It is good to know that we have such dedicated parents willing to create opportunities for our youth.

Brenda and Jamie started our meeting by thank the parents for allowing them the opportunity to be the new club managers.  Then she inspired us with her vision of building up our club this year.

Imagine the foundation as the club leaders and our county extension agent along with the basic idea of 4H (head, heart, hand and health).

Then the outer walls are the youth leaders. The interior walls are the members of the club.  The windows are the Clover Kids as they are looking out for new adventures.  The project leaders are the doors because they open up new opportunities for everyone.  (As I write this, I think the roof must be the motto of 4H that reminds us all of why we all come together..."To make the Best Better.")

Brenda told us she would continue this theme throughout the year.  She will begin with the installation of the officers later this month as they are given the tools to perform their duties for the club.

As the meeting progressed, anyone who doubted the year was upon us was quickly set straight.  With calendars open, dates for events were added quickly.  Here are a few of the events coming up in August that I will be blogging about later:

  • Home school Back to School Night-first big opportunity for our club to invite new members and promote 4H. (August 9)
  • Last Club Meeting for previous year-I know seems odd but we will be installing new youth leaders and closing out any unfinished business so we can start fresh for the new year (August 16)
  • Serving at our VA Clinic (August 17)
  • Club Officer Training Meeting-for the new officers to see their duties (August 21)
  • 4H Family Fun Night-Second opportunity to recruit new members with a fun night of activities based on our various projects and a nice spaghetti dinner. (August 23)
  • 4H Project Leaders Meeting-county wide planning meeting to recognize leaders and put more dates on our calendars! (August 27)
  • Also, many deadlines are already looming for contests that take place in September.  It is hard to believe that contests begin that early but these are usually for the fall festivals and fairs that have good practice contests.  

Our final portion of the meeting was spent discussing specific projects.  This was mainly to determine who would be the leader of the projects within our club; however, there were also details that needed to be discussed.  Brenda told us that she really wanted to see the following components in all the projects:

  • 4-6 learning opportunities
  • 1+ leadership opportunities for each 4Her, for all age levels
  • 1+ service opportunities
  • Clover Kid activity for each project meeting
I think this is a great opportunity to enhance our projects.  We personally have always encouraged these components in our projects so we look forward to seeing all the projects do this.

Along with that idea, Brenda asked me to discuss the Presidential Volunteer Award with the group.  This is not a 4H ward but with all the community service our members and leaders perform each year, I was happy to tell about this opportunity.  The idea is to show national recognition for outstanding community service in a given year for individuals of all ages.  I hope we will be able to encourage this in our club and possibly at the county level.

Here are our project leaders for the next year:

  • Animal Projects (dogs, goats, horses, rabbits, poultry)-determined these are individual projects
  • Photography-that's me!--looking forward to our monthly photo sessions but decided we will not begin until October
  • Theater Arts-hoping to find a dynamic individual to take on the project...We have some ideas of who that might be and hope she will accept the opportunity to use her talent for our youth
  • Clothing & Textiles-Brenda...we already know that there are going to be new opportunities for this project this year!
  • Entomology-Sheri...looking forward to finding new opportunities for the members
  • Food & Nutrition-Christi...with the help of Jamie for Food Challenge (one of those contests that is coming up fast!!)...also new format for the Food Show this year!
  • Forestry-hoping Wanda continues to be the leader of this project
  • Shooting Sports-county wide project with the help of our good friend Robert leading
  • Wildlife/WHEP-that's me again! We have to get a jump start on this big project that has an early contest...also we are planning a walk up contest to promote all outdoor 4H projects at a state festival in September....much to do this fall!  Also, we will begin meeting for the project on August 21 from 3-5pm at Grace Dunn Park.
  • Computer Science-Michael with help from Paul...hoping to add in some robotics to the mix this year!
Other miscellaneous topics for the evening included:
  • Making pillowcase dresses for girls (shorts for boys) in Haiti
  • Possible need for Health & Safety Officer for club
  • Discussion of having some of our youth become 4H Ambassadors
  • Hushpuppy sign up (by August 24)
  • Food Challenge contest in College Station in September (sign up by August 15)
  • State Recordbook judging on August 8th
So, as you can see we have a wide variety of opportunities for the members this year.  Also, many exciting opportunities for our youth in the community this fall.  Looking forward to the year.  And always looking for ways to "Make the Best Better!"

I would also like to add a big thank you to Lufkin BBQ for allowing us to use their big meeting room for this parent meeting.  It was nice to sit down and enjoy a meal with the others!


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