Throughout the year, 4-H clubs around the county volunteer in different capacities for their communities. Lincoln County has 12 different 4-H clubs, and each one is encouraged through the program to reach out and do something positive for the community. Several events that clubs have put on in the past year include canned food drives, adopting struggling families at Christmas, making valentines cards for seniors in nursing homes and even adopting highways.
This year, all the clubs in the county are working to make “birthday bags” for the Bread for Life Food Pantry. The birthday bags include cake mix, a cake pan, some birthday decorations, and general items to help a family celebrate. Each club takes a different month, and with 12 clubs engaging in the effort, the food pantry will have a good supply all year long.
Another event that all the clubs are expected to participate in is cleanup at the Lincoln County Fair. During the month of June, all the 4-H clubs are assigned different tasks to help prepare the fairgrounds for the Lincoln County Fair. Members clean up food stands, pick weeds, plant flowers, string the parking lot and complete many other tasks to help get the fairgrounds ready. Aside from club-specific tasks, every Wednesday evening in the month of June club members can attend a general work night.
Individual clubs decide what type and how many volunteer opportunities they want to do through the year. The Hawkpoint club organized a canned food drive during the Christmas season, and their month to help with birthday bags was just recently in April.
Braten Havlik, 13, is a member of the Millwood Knights club near Silex and attended one of the Wednesday work nights for the fair.
He shared that the Millwood club helped the community in several different ways in the past year with Christmas caroling in nursing homes, doing canned food drives, delivering bags of fruit and thank you cards to the elderly and most recently hosting their annual blood drive.
“I’m happy that we’re helping people,” Havlik said.
“Volunteering teaches us to be generous. You’re supposed to be nice to people and nice to each other.”
He will be competing in the fair with a steer, chickens and photography entries.
“The overall program goal of 4-H state wide with community service, charity, is that each club and county is encouraged to do something like that in the community to get out and help folks. It’s good leadership for the kids to take on some activity or event and they’re learning to help people and develop their skills as well,” said Rhonda Schafer, County Engagement Specialist in 4-H Youth Development.