Prospective 4-H members got a taste of the many possibilities offered by the club at an open house Sunday evening.
As always, this was a chance for organizers to point out that 4-H isn't just for farm kids.
"I thought it was hogs and cows," said Jim Finnegan, who brought his two daughters to the open house.
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Mercedes Crouse, fifth grade, tries to catch a ball of string as the potential new 4-H’ers and some current members play a getting-to-know-you game. The kids had to say their name and something about themselves as they caught the string.
But his older daughter has a friend in school who told about all the projects he was in, and both girls became interested.
"She's got a couple of dogs at the house, and they know how to do a couple of tricks," Finnegan said. "When she finds out what all they have, she might want to do more."
About seven kids from fourth grade and up came to the event, held at the Webster County Extension Office in the Crossroads Mall.
It's a good chance for both kids and parents to become more familiar with the program, said Coordinator Linda Cline.
Three current 4-H'ers were there to guide the new recruits and help out with some fun activities. Taylor Hintch, 16, has been in the program since fourth grade, the first year she was able.
Teaching the younger 4-H'ers is one of Hintch's responsibilities this year, now that she's been asked to join the county council.
"You work a lot to get on it, and it's kind of special. I like it," Hintch said.
The club itself is worthwhile because "I like the opportunities it brings," she said. "If I wasn't in 4-H I would be doing just school stuff, and it presents an entire new world you get to be a part of."
Katie Finnegan, 13, liked what she was seeing.
"I'm really interested in some of the projects," she said, specifically, "the shooting sports and horse projects. And maybe aerospace."
Her sister, Miranda Finnegan, 9, had a practical question for the leaders.
"When can you start? Can you join today?" she said.
Taeton Moore and Sam Guddall, both fourth-graders from Fort Dodge, were interested in the technology side of things. Moore also said he was interested in a Lego club.
If he joins up, there are several computer and technology projects he can join - even one that builds Lego robots, said Cline.
The kids also learn how to take a computer apart.
"I took my DVD player apart and put it back together, but then it didn't work," Moore said.
Sam Guddall's mom, Erin Guddall, was in Cline's 4-H club once, she said.
"I've been excited for him to be old enough to try it, because sports aren't really his thing. This is something good that he can get out and learn new things and find his niche," Erin Guddall said.
When she was in club, she did "lots of arts and crafts, and I remember doing a child care - I remember we did babysitting stuff. And I ended up being a teacher, so I have to say a lot of the stuff I learned in 4-H carried through."