Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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August 7, 2013

Campers get a taste of 4-H

JACKSONVILLE — Separating them into left-handed and right-handed shooters, Cherokee County Extension Agent Willie Arnwine asked the group of 20-plus youths if they've ever shot a bow before.

When more than half answered in the affirmative, he added, “These types of bows?”

They were participating in a four-day Youth 912 Camp, which began Tuesday and runs through Friday. Youths ages 9 through 12 are getting a closer look at the 4-H organization, which promotes agriculture.

Twelve-year-old Julia Morgan, parliamentarian of Rusk's Footbridge 4-H Club, said this is her first year to attend the program, which kicked off last summer.

She's been a 4-H'er for the past two years and chose to attend camp “because it seemed like something fun to do,” she said.

Cody Moore, also 12 and a member of the Rusk club, agreed.

“I like it – it's fun,” he said, adding that while he's been a 4-H'er for the past four years, “I learned a little bit more (at the camp).”

This year's camp attracted 25 participants, with an even mix of 4-H'ers and non-members, Arnwine said.

The program “has had pretty good, pretty successful participation,” Arnwine said, describing how opening day activities focused on agriculture and youth, a history of the 4-H program and its offerings, as well as fun events such as hands-on lessons in archery and shooting sports.

Demonstrations will in areas of livestock, companion animals, horticulture, entomology, bee-keeping, food, fashion and consumer economics will be offered, as will water games as part of a soil and water conservation component.

“We also have play time that focuses on team building and leadership skills,” he said, adding that each day features a presentation by each of the four extension agents, who are part of the Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service.

The 9 a.m.-4 p.m. camp, held daily at the Cherokee County Showbarn on SE Loop 456 in Jacksonville, “gives kids an idea of what 4-H is , where it comes from and why (agriculture) is so important, and why we need to keep educating” every generation of residents, Arnwine said.

“Because if we didn't have this – hey guys, I've got a question for you,” he called out to campers; “I we didn't have agriculture, what would we be?”

“Naked. And hungry. And floating around in space,” several answered back.

Smiling, he nodded at his charges. “Because, you see, everything is connected to agriculture.”

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