Volunteers keeping 4-H program moving along providing nearly $200K in non-paid support
(Lander, Wyo.) – The Fremont County UW Extension Office presented the county commissioners this morning with a symbolic check representing the number of volunteer hours given to the county’s 4H program. The volunteer hours totaled $181,884 if they had been paid.
This week is the annual kick-off to 4H week in Fremont County.
“We have 500 youth locally in our 4H program in 30 clubs, it’s the largest out-of-school program in Wyoming,” said Alex Malcolm, the program’s extension educator and head of the Master Gardener program.” Malcolm said 4H non-competitive programs begin for kids aged 6 to 8 and competitive programs from ages 9 to 18. “We have between 120 and 150 volunteers, which is the second largest in the state next to Laramie County, the state’s most populous,” he reported.
Malcolm said the success of the program, especially with the program’s funding decline, would not have been possible without its community volunteers.
Kim Collins, from the Extension’s Lander Office, noted that kids involved in 4H are less likely be involved in risky behaviors and are three times more likely to become productive adults and contribute to their local communities.
An advocate for the program, Commissioner Clarence Thomas noted that all the successes of the 4H program have been done with less funding, which resulted in fewer services offered by the program. “This program represents a large population of voters and they will eventually cry out to us that they are doing a lot and why don’t you support them,” he said. “I urge this commission to listen to them and make their program level in a sense of their service to their population.”
Thomas said there was another reason why he supported 4H. “If we can get our young people to put down their electronic devices and get back to hands-on learning and understanding the processes of learning the ways of doing things, we will establish more leadership, personal communication skills and community service,” he said. “Serving one another, working with the land and with animals is what is important here, not only for our county but for the nation.”
The commission also approved a proclamation declaring the week of October 7-13 National 4H Week.