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Two events will be held at the Crook County 4-H Clover Building this month to kick off the 4-H season

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY CROOK COUNTY 4-H
 - Multiple local events are planned to celebrate National 4-H Week in Crook County.

Another 4-H season will soon be jumpstarted by National 4-H Week.

"National 4-H Week is celebrated nationwide, and it's kind of the kick-off of the new 4-H year. Each county will be doing something a little different. Crook County will host two events," explained Crook County 4-H Program Coordinator Samara Worlein-Rufener.

The first event, an open house, will be Tuesday, Oct. 5. The open house is a time for new or returning 4-H members and their family members to meet different club leaders and meet other youth in the program.

"We are hoping to have some small animals and maybe some dogs join us, so that people will be able to see the hands-on aspect of the program," she added.

This event will be held at the Clover 4-H Building, located next to the Crook County Open Campus.

The other event will be Thursday, Oct. 7, and the Crook County 4-H Program will be sponsoring "Chalk it up for 4-H." Interested participants are encouraged to drop by the Extension Office at 498 SE Lynn Blvd. to enroll in 4-H, ask questions about joining, and help "chalk it up" on the surrounding sidewalks.

"All around the Extension Office we will have chalk out on the sidewalk, and we are just encouraging people to stop by and enroll in 4-H and get information about the program and then to decorate a sidewalk square. We will be doing some fun 4-H prizes for the best decorated sidewalk square," said Worlein-Rufener.

Nationally, 4-H has been active since 1902. Although Worlein-Rufener wasn't sure of the exact date it began in Crook County, she emphasized that it has been active for several generations.

"You would be hard pressed to find somebody in Crook County who doesn't have a grandparent or great-grandparent who also was in Crook County 4-H. I love hearing about the history of it," she stated.

Worlein-Rufener has been in her position for three years. She manages the local 4-H program, assists with the 4-H Association, and general management of the local program. One other faculty 4-H member for Crook County includes Kelsea Luebbers, who is the program assistant.

Crook County currently has 36 4-H clubs, and Worlein-Rufener is hopeful they will gain some more programs this year. Last year, they were unable to have non-animal, static projects due to COVID restrictions. There are animal clubs that involve raising an animal for fair, and there are non-animal clubs such as clothing and sewing, food and nutrition, STEM technology, knitting and crochet, and many others.

"Unfortunately, COVID hampered their ability to go last year, because it's very hard to learn those skills via Zoom. They fizzled out last year, so we are hoping to get some new 4-H volunteers and be able to spark up that program again," she went on to say.

According to the Crook County 4-H website, "Today, Oregon State University Extension 4-H offers projects in technology training and youth leadership. Thousands of trained OSU Extension volunteers give time to their communities to create public gardens, advise woodland managers, and clean up neighborhood streams. OSU Extension faculty across the state offer research-based expertise in health and nutrition, children and families, forestry, agriculture, marine science, and community development."

"We are always looking for 4-H volunteers, especially this year," Worlein-Rufener said. "If someone would like to be a 4-H volunteer, I always tell them that the commitment is about three to five hours per month. They would need to stop by the Extension Office, and we have some enrollment paperwork for them."

They are then background checked and trained in youth safety. After that, they can request curriculum or support for their club that they may need.

"They get the added bonus of volunteer recognition and all of the fun times with the kids. It's a pretty cool opportunity," she concluded.

Sidebar

Events for National 4-H Week

4-H Open House, Oct. 5

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Chalk it Up for 4-H, Oct. 7

Time: 3-5 p.m.

Address: 4-H Clover Building, 498 SE Lynn Blvd.

Contact for more information: Crook County 4-H Program Coordinator Samara Worlein-Rufener 541-447-6228,

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