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4-H shares plans for coming year

December 14, 2012
By ASHLEY CURTIS - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - When Karen Connors, 4-H program coordinator for Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties, organized the open house for Houghton and Keweenaw counties, she hoped to draw in new members, but she also hoped to meet 4-H leaders and members and talk about the possibility of beginning new 4-H clubs.

At the open house on Wednesday night, there weren't many new faces ready to join the 4-H program, however, there were several leaders who attended the event to meet Connors and have a chance to talk to other 4-H leaders in the county about planned activities.

The Anything Goes 4-H Club has a dance planned from 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Nara Nature Center.

"It's actually being planned by three teens in the club and is open to anyone in the county ninth grade and above," said Carol Kreher, club leader. "It's been fun to watch them plan."

Anna Backman, one of the 4-H members planning the dance in the Anything Goes 4-H Club attended the open house to share why 4-H is valuable to her.

"My favorite thing about 4-H is the travel opportunities," Backman said. "I've been to (Washington) D.C., downstate to (Michigan State University) and Japan through 4-H."

Besides the dance, Kreher's club is also in the process of planning a doll-making class, along with animal science and weight training activities for the 4-H year.

The Anything Goes 4-H Club is open to anyone in the county, 4-H or non-4-H member.

Besides the Anything Goes 4-H Club, Kreher is also a leader for the Youth for the Future 4-H Club in Calumet.

"We meet once per month and focus on citizenship, leadership and community service," Kreher said.

Although 4-H clubs can choose how often they want to meet and the activities they want to do, many of the clubs base yearly activities around the interests of the members.

"We plan what we do and this year we have a really ambitious list of things," said Joan Dostaler, Trap Rock 4-H Club Leader.

The Trap Rock club is both community service and activity oriented.

"Last weekend, we had our Christmas party with the two senior housing centers in Lake Linden," Dostaler said. "We put packages at every door, sang carols and some members even sang solos for them. We've had this activity since the housing was put in Lake Linden in the 1970s."

In addition to the annual Christmas party at the senior housing centers, members also visit the centers for Valentine's Day, Easter and Halloween. Cleaning the highway from Lake Linden to Laurium in spring and fall is another important community service activity each year.

Because the age ranges in each club vary, most of the activities are planned to allow all members to participate.

"My youngest (in the club) is 5 and the oldest are going to be 12 this year, so they are quite young for most things. We do a lot of different things, lots of crafts and watercolor painting," Dostaler said.

Knitting, crocheting and sewing are also on the list of activities for Trap Rock members.

"We made pillowcases for the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter and that's how they have learned to sew in the past," she said.

The club also makes donations to the Salvation Army, U.S. Armed Services men and women and frequently participates in Relay for Life and Make a Difference Day.

"We do whatever happens to interest them that year," Dostaler said.

Although the Trap Rock 4-H Club meets at least three times a month, the meeting nights change to allow for more members to participate.

"Changing nights helps because kids are so busy," she said.

Dostaler is proud to say she has been a 4-H leader for 52 years and a member for her whole life. At nearly 70-years-old, Dostaler hopes to serve as a leader to at least 75 years old to achieve serving as a leader for as long as her mother.

"I was born in it; it's like an addiction," she said. "I have had people think I was crazy, they say 'your kids have been out for years,' but my mother was a leader all her life and its been in the family. My mom was in the original Trap Rock 4-H club, the oldest club in the Copper Country."



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