Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1090035

Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 29, 2014

Clover Kid leaders impact youth early in 4-H career

Dec 09, 2013
Photo by: Washington County 4-H Leaders are encouraged to participate in events and encourage members of their club. April Cuddeback supports her Clover Kid graduates Haylie Trowbridge, daughter of Melodie and Bob Trowbridge, and Jenna Messer, daughter of Julie and Mark Messer, at the Washington County Fair this past summer on Clover Kids graduation night.

The 4-H mission says “4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential through youth-adult partnerships and research-based experiences.” 4-H in Washington County cannot be what it is today without the many different types of volunteers.

Leaders are a term often referred to in the 4-H volunteer world. These adult leaders coordinate the monthly club meetings and events for their 4-H or Clover Kid groups. The Washington County 4-H program has over 60 adult club leaders. Fourteen of those are leaders to the Clover Kid clubs for kindergarten through third-grade youth.

These Clover Kid leaders often expose members and their families to 4-H for the first time, which is an important role. They provide a safe, interactive, fun, and learning environment for young members to explore and make new friends. They lay the foundation for youth to get involved in the 4-H program.

Clover Kid parent Julie Messer has had two children in the Washington Clover Kid Club with April Cuddeback as a volunteer leader. Messer applauds Cuddeback in her leadership role. “She has a way of making everyone feel welcome, excited, and included. As a parent I appreciate the way she promotes respect, giving back to the community and doing your best work. She goes above and beyond in all areas.”

Cuddeback originally volunteered as a leader to spend more time with her own children who were involved. After five years as a leader she has worked with many members. “I love seeing my Clover Kids around town and getting hugs,” explained Cuddeback.

“April is always super organized, has outstanding projects to do with the kids each meeting and makes Clover Kids fun for her members,” added Erin McGuire, another Clover Kid parent.

Other Washington County Clover Kids leaders include Jodie Beinhart, Jeanna Gerot, Angela Hazelett, Misty Hinson, Katie McCleary, Mindi Rees, Sarah Rodgers, Laura Schmitz, Todd Schmitz, Lynne Sheetz, Sara Sublette and Angela Taylor.

Angela Taylor recently attended the 4-H New Volunteer Workshop and is assisting with the Jackson Township Clover Kids with her daughter as a member. “I became a leader because I believe 4-H is important and the best way to introduce kids to 4-H is through Clover Kids. I know I am helping mold future 4-H members and that is meaningful to me,” said Taylor.

More adult volunteers are always welcomed to Clover Kid clubs. Please contact a leader or the Extension Office if you would like to volunteer with these youth members. Washington County 4-H would like to expand to offer a Clover Kids club to Wellman area youth. It is helpful to have some experience with kindergarten through third-grade youth and to enjoy working, learning and playing together with them. If interested in starting this club or working together as a co-leader, please contact the Washington County Extension Office at 319-653-4811.

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