4-H plans program for Genoa Elementary School
The Ottawa County 4-H program reached nearly 2,100 children across the county in 2010 and the program looks to expand its offerings this year, including a new offering in the Genoa School District.
Last year’s figure amounts to 100 more connections than the previous year, said Kathy Booher, director of the Ottawa County – Ohio State University Extension Office.
The 2,070 level in 2010 includes 4-H club memberships as well as th
ird-grade classroom intervention, special projects, and after-school programs, Booher explained to Ottawa County Commissioners recently during an annual update.
“If you count duplication, we probably hit somewhere around 3,000,” Booher said.
Part of the new program planning this year includes overseeing a character building class at the new Genoa Elementary School, Booher noted.
The 4-H program has been embedded in after-school programs in both Port Clinton and Benton-Carroll-Salem School Districts for years. The programs operate at five sites between the two districts. “Acres of Adventure” was developed primarily for the after-school programming to educate kids about food and where it comes from, she said.
Booher is glad to see more 4-H services moving into western Ottawa County school districts despite a strained budget.
“We are very limited. It has to do with the funding cuts they started a few years ago. I wish we could do more there,” she said.
Local extension agency offices have suffered significant budget hits for the last several years at both the county and federal level. The extension offices fall under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The retirement of 4-H office veteran Marcia Jess last August also left a gapping hole. Jess wore several hats in the office and shared many of the responsibilities with Booher to keep programs running smoothly.
Budget cuts also forced Ottawa County Commissioners Steve Arndt, Mark Stahl and Jim Sass to call for reduction in staff hours.
By mid-2010, the extension office on Lake Street in Oak Harbor stopped serving the public on Fridays. Hours of operation are now 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday.
Still, they manage.
Booher credits some other changes in programming to expanding 4-H’s reach to young adults.
The weeklong camps at Kelleys Island are no longer limited to 4-H members. Other teens can enjoy the camping experience and learn about what 4-H has to offer them, she said.
Cloverbuds also offers early intervention at the grade school level. The free two-day camp located at Camp Sabroske in Carroll Township exposes kids from age 5 to 8 to the fun and learning opportunities available in 4-H. The program was overwhelmed with participants the last two years, she said.
“We topped out at 95 kids. This year we will probably limit it to 50 or 60,” Booher said.