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4-H Youth Day a big draw during stock show
F.Ganje - January 18, 2018

RAPID CITY, SD – 4-H Youth Day welcomes kids from near and far to the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo Rapid City.  Created to bring together rural and urban interests, program and competitions offer a variety of friendly contests and the adults get in on the fun too with a Burger Bust and scholarships.

Mat Olson, SDSU Extension 4-H  Program Advisor for Pennington County is something of a convert.  His degree is in natural resources, fisheries, conservation and management. He always thought he would work for some type of state or federal agency.  But a working trip to the James 4-H Camp and Outdoor Learning Center in Arizona changed his career path.  “When I was working with kids coming to camp who had never been outdoors, never gone fishing, it was refreshing to see the look on their faces.  He added, “That’s really what it’s about; seeing the excitement, whether it’s kids learning about robotics, livestock, gardening, photography – that’s what makes me do what I do.”

According to Olson, the strategic plan for 4-H nation-wide is to see one in five kids in any community enrolled in 4-H.  In Pennington County, the goal has been to increase members by 10 percent.  The good news is that those goals are being met.  The challenging news is that it creates a greater demand for hands-on volunteers – something of which there is a shortage of, says Olson. “I try to get it across that you don’t have to be an expert to be a 4-H volunteer.  You need a desire to work with youth and to make a difference in a youth’s life.”

He describes 4-H Youth Day at stock show as  “fairly big.  Around 200 kids attend, largely participating in livestock centered events.” All Youth (non 4-H and 4-H) are invited to enter Youth Day activities that include the Beef Cook-Off, Livestock Judging, Livestockology, Horse Quiz Bowl, Hippology, Dog Show and Dog Skill-a-thon.

There is also a scholarship opportunity available for youth who graduated in spring of 2017 or plan to graduate in the spring of 2018.  The Rapid City Chamber of Commerce Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee offers four $1,000 scholarships for formal instruction in any South Dakota accredited university, college, technical school or other recognized program preparing young people in agricultural and natural resources related fields. Two $500 scholarships will also be offered to Western Dakota Technical Institute.

For more information on 4-H Youth Day and the 4-H program call any county extension office.  In South Dakota, see the on line source www.IGrow.org



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