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4-H making the best better
Where can kids go to learn how to sew a skirt, carve a leather belt, build a small rocket, grow a garden, or raise a pig, goat, steer or chicken? Our local 4-H clubs.
4-H is as American as apple pie and Uncle Sam and has been in existence for over 100 years. From its start in the early 1900s in rural America, it has grown into one of the top youth development organizations worldwide. Today's youth become tomorrow's leaders, and 4-H helps develop the necessary skills of leadership, responsibility, respect and critical thinking for youngsters to mature into successful adults.
“To Make the Best Better” is the 4-H motto and describes their goal of helping youth reach their fullest potential.
The four H's in 4-H are Head, Heart, Hands and Health. The pledge explains each: “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”
Today, through their program of positive youth development, 4-H is touching the lives of over 6 million youngsters in 70 countries and has an impressive alumni of 60+ million. My father was a 4-H Extension agent, and our family was heavily involved in 4-H throughout my childhood.
Adult volunteers are the role models who teach various projects offered by 4-H clubs. Parents are encouraged to take part in their child's club activities, making it a true family organization. The abilities and interests of the volunteers determine which projects are taught by each club. These hands-on projects help youth learn by doing under the guidance of caring adults.
What was once a rural organization preparing youth for future farming careers has expanded to include activities for rural, urban and suburban youths. Today, guide-dog rearing, small engines, shooting education, welding, model rockets, photography, robotics, animal projects, horticulture, arts and crafts, cake decorating, sewing and veterinary science are just a few of the projects children can enroll in.
The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Office, 2200 W. 28th St., houses local 4-H Extension agent Amy Parrott and her mom, Marlena Parrott, 4-H instructional specialist. They are the dynamic duo who work collaboratively to keep Yuma's 4-H programs going strong.
“Our Clover Kids Program is available for kids ages 5-9,” said Amy. “We offer arts and crafts projects in this program. If a child is 9 after Jan. 1, he/she can enroll in our regular 4-H program and choose from our full list of projects. A child can be a member until he/she is 18.
“We have projects to interest every child and great volunteer leaders to teach them. Oct. 19 is the final day to enroll in order to exhibit projects at the Yuma County Fair.”
Project leaders are always needed. If you have a special interest or hobby you'd like to share with our youths, or would like to assist one of the project leaders, call Amy at 726-3904.
“The joy of knowing you have helped youngsters broaden their horizons is an awesome feeling,” Marlena said. “Once you've become a volunteer leader, you're hooked.”
During National 4-H Week, Federated Garden Clubs of Yuma extend their best wishes to all Yuma county 4-H clubs and our local Extension agents.
• Annuals — Sow seeds or purchase transplants for African daisy, alyssum, bachelor's button, calendula, California poppy, carnation, clarkia, delphinium, larkspur, lobelia, nasturtium, sweet pea, petunia, stock.
• Perennials — Plant brittlebush, emu bush, penstemon, bee balm, desert marigold, globe mallow, geranium, gazania, gaillardia, Shasta daisy and daylilies. Divide older perennials to encourage new growth.
• Vegetables — Sow seeds or purchase transplants for beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, garlic, lettuces, collard greens, kale, peas, radishes, beans, Swiss chard, leeks, parsnips, peas, spinach, squash, tomatoes, peppers, turnips.
•Set out transplants for strawberries and plant herbs.
• Lawns — Now that cooler weather has arrived, sow rye grass. Cut your lawn as short as possible before sowing the seed. Cover with a light layer of steer manure and keep seeds moist until they are established.
• Bulbs — Plant narcissus, gladiola, daffodil, ranunculus, sparaxis and chilled tulip and hyacinth bulbs.
• Citrus — Fertilize the outer two-thirds of a tree's canopy with ammonium sulfate and water in well. Do not fertilize near the trunk. Prune any dead wood or unwanted sprouts.
• Trees/shrubs — Plant non-frost sensitive trees and shrubs.
• Roses — Fertilize with a systemic fertilizer to control aphids. If leaves are yellowing, apply an iron supplement. Plant container roses. Remove dead or diseased canes. Keep area beneath roses clean of debris, particularly if powdery mildew has been a problem. Do not wet leaves during water since that encourages powdery mildew to form.
Garden Club Activities
Yuma Garden Club
Oct. 8, 1 p.m., Main Library, 2951 S. 21st Drive
Program: “Everything's Coming up Growing,” presented by Sally Nakasawa, owner of From the Farm, 7158 S. Highway 95
Pecan Grove Garden Club
Oct. 16, 6 p.m., Main Library, 2951 S. 21st Drive
Program: “Varieties of Edibles and Vegetables for the Home Garden,” second program in the “Better Growing” series of lectures
Yuma Orchid Society
Oct. 11, 1 p.m., Foothills Library, 13226 E. South Frontage Road
Program: Member discussion concerning orchid varieties and their care, followed by question-answer session concerning orchid care and maintenance
MGM Garden Club
Every Tuesday, 9 a.m., Robert J. Moody Demonstration Garden, 2200 W. 28th St.
Club members meet to care for the Moody Garden; discussions concerning various plants grown in the garden
Karen Bowen is a master gardener and member of Yuma Garden Club. This column is sponsored by the Federated Garden Clubs of Yuma.