Routt County 4-H junior leadership program best in country
Extension agent Tami Eggers was happy when she learned the Routt County 4-H Junior Leadership Program had won the Greg Yost Memorial Youth in Leadership Award at the state level in early spring. She thought is was awesome when the program won the Western Regional honor in May and was overwhelmed earlier this month when she learned it would be recognized as the best leadership program in the country later this year,
“It’s really cool, because we have been working really hard to build up our junior leadership program the past few years,” senior member Greta Thurston said. “We didn’t know that we were applying for the award, but they kept us updated as we moved up the ranks.”
The members of the Junior Leadership Program meet once per month. The program includes 18 senior (age 13 to 19) 4-H members who plan and organize a number of events for younger 4-H members throughout the year.
The leadership group includes Jessica Diehl, Greta Thurston, Leona Thurston, Cosette McLaughlin, Cassett Yeager, Grant Pohlman, Hallie Mhyre, Kally May, Kady Look, Lucas Morter, Amber Elliott, Scout Reynolds, Katelyn Ibarra, Ruth Moon, Jack Colfer, Alex Thompson, Maggie Miller and Thyme Zuschlag.
Events include the Routt County 4-H Fun Day, the Routt County 4-H open house and the Routt County 4-H barbecue.
The Fun Day, which took place July 12, is one of the program’s biggest events of the year. Last week, 28 children age 6 to 12 took part in the Fun Day, which included a number of different projects, such as magnetic slim, geometric domes, a marble run, dance workshops and interview and public speaking workshops.
The group also organizes and runs the Meat Quality Assurance Training program, which is a requirement for participants taking part of the local 4-H clubs’ animal programs. The groups also held an etiquette dinner, at which members talked about good manners at the dinner table, on the phone and in other social situations.
The leadership group also helps with Exhibit Day, which will take place next week at Soroco High School, and with a number of activities at the Routt County Fair, scheduled to take place Aug. 11 through 20 in Hayden.
“It’s a huge commitment,” Eggers said of the junior leadership program. “These senior leaders act as ambassadors for the Routt County 4-H programs.”
Pohlman, who grew up in 4-H, said he looked up to the older members of the 4-H program when he was a child and hopes the younger members see him as a role model now. He was happy when he learned the program was being recognized for its hard work.
“This is my second year in the leadership program,” Pohlman said.
Pohlman acknowledged he was initially talked into joining the group, but now that he is a part of the leadership team, he believes it fills important role in Steamboat.
“I still remember being a younger kid and looking up to the older kids to see what they were doing,” Pohlman said. “Now, the younger kids are watching what I do — and I want to set a good example.”
Pohlman said winning this award is great, because it recognizes the impact the older members of 4-H can have on younger members, and it sets the tone for the future.
When I started, there were only six of us doing the leadership program, Thurston said. “The junior leadership program just keeps growing in Routt County, and it’s still evolving … One of the great things about 4-H is the relationship between the younger and the older members.”
Thurston said she treasures her relationships with the community members who support 4-H and with the younger members who will follow in her footsteps someday. She thinks the leadership program helps carry on many of the values and traditions taught through 4-H programs.
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