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Hubbard Co. 4-H seeing a resurgence

Jeff Stacey and daughter Mya competed in one of the 4-H games. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

By Sarah Smith

Hubbard County 4-H is “really rockin’ and rollin’ this year,” its savior says.

The presence of 4-Hers at the fair all last week was evidence of that.

This year Hubbard County has 233 kids and 64 adult volunteers involved in the program, a significant gain over said year, said coordinator Mari Jo Lohmeier.

She can’t exactly pinpoint the reason 4-H is seeing such a resurgence, but speculates that “it’s because we’re doing lots of new things. Everybody’s talking up 4-H.”

Lohmeier said a Club Olympics challenge at the fair kept kids coming back for more.

In years past, the kids would leave the fair after they’d exhibited.

The challenge, mostly “goofy games, brought families back to the fair every day, they got so excited about it,” Lohmeier said.

The Nevis program has tripled in size, she said. The Ambassador program for 8th graders and older, is also growing.

Two new retreats, one for volunteers and one for youth leaders, were also well-attended.

The horse programs are where the growth spurt was.

Clover Buds, kindergartners through second grade, need an adult to accompany them in the ring.

Lohmeier said she heard some complaints because many kids are quite proficient at handling their steeds, even at a young age.

So she staged non 4-H sanctioned games for the kids and left it up to the parents to determine if they needed to escort the young riders through their paces.

“We had 20 horses last year and 45 this year,” Lohmeier said.

And to get the kids to cooperate more and compete a bit less, there were games on horses where the kids competed as a club against another club, but had to strategize as a team.

“It was collaborative,” she said.

She’s thrilled at the growth, but said her volunteers and group leaders are the ones who should get the praise.

Equestrians barely out of diapers competed Sunday with and without parents and had a ball.

Normally, they might have packed up and gone home.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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