PARKERSBURG - The Wood County 4-H Program serves more than 1,000 children through its 4-H clubs, camps, after-school and other programs and last week celebrated National 4-H Week.
A new program year is under way for the growing 4-H program.
"During National 4-H Week we conducted a science experiment at the McKinley Afterschool Program. Kids learned how to become robotic engineers who will be designing a solution for a very serious problem. Kits for the science experiment were supplied by West Virginia University Extension Service and National 4-H," said Jodi Smith, Wood County 4-H extension agent.
James Sams and Ethan Devlin-Bradley make eco-bot with a toothbrush, watch battery, small motor and double-sided tape. The task for the eco-bot is to clean up environmental spills.
The 4-H Program offers many opportunities for all ages.
"We have Cloverbud programs for 5-8-year-olds that explore the different project areas of 4-H through age-appropriate, fun activities. Youth in third grade and older are eligible to choose from hundreds of 4-H projects including recycling, leadership, small pets, cooking, sewing, gardening, small engines, electricity, rocket building, robotics and much more," Smith said.
"For youth who are interested in farming, we have large animal projects as well. Teenage members are able to join a county Teen Leader Program and participate in leadership and service opportunities, as well as work as camp counselors at our younger camps. We have a collegiate level club at West Virginia University at Parkersburg for our college members as well. The experience gained through membership and participation in 4-H is priceless," Smith said.
To Sign Up
For more information on the Wood County 4-H program, contact Jodi Smith at the local West Virginia University Extension Office on the fourth floor of the courthouse, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or call 304-424-1960.
The program also offers specialty clubs.
"Wood County 4-H provides a few specialty clubs as well, a horse club, and the Sharp Shooters 4-H Club teaches youth about the safe and ethical use of firearms and has an air rifle team that competes at the state level. Youth learn archery, air rifle, shot gun and black powder (depending on age) and learn safety as well as sportsmanship. They are trained by certified shooting sports instructors," Smith said.
There is no charge to join 4-H and minimal charges for many of the activities, Smith noted. Nearly one-in-four West Virginia youth belong to the 4-H Program.
Katie Harper, 4-H Teen Leader President, and a member of the Belleville 4-H Club said for her 4-H isn't just a hobby.
"It's a lifestyle. I like being around people that love the same thing I do, and learning responsibility and leadership," Harper said.
Laura Thompson, 4-H Teen Leader and member of Lubeck Lucky Clovers 4-H Club said "4-H has taught me great leadership skills and has allowed me to make many lifelong friends. I love being able to help my community in any possible way."
A new 4-H program year is about to start, for more information about 4-H opportunities in Wood County, contact Smith at the Wood County WVU Extension Office, 304-424-1960 or visit the website at: wood.ext.wvu.edu.