Scrabble: Not just a board game anymore for Scott County 4-H

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

BENTON, Mo. -- The Scott County 4-H Junior Leaders Club presented Kelly High School Principal Dan Hecht with a piece of Scrabble Tile Wall Art bearing the design "Hawks."

These handmade tiles are an ongoing fundraiser for the club that commenced late last fall.

"The tiles sell themselves," said Rachel Grubbs, club president.

In order to keep the club going and give members a chance to put into practice its core values, Marsha Birk, adult club leader, proposed that the club begin making and selling Scrabble Tile Wall Art.

The club went through a period of trial and error during its first tile workday, which helped members learn about the production process. After much discussion, the club also made group decisions on pricing.

Base price is seven tiles for $25; any tiles after seven are $2 each. Orders of one to six tiles are $4 per tile. Each tile measures approximately 1" by 6" by 6."

"The youth were very concerned about price and not overpricing the item," Birk said. "We also talked about undercutting ourselves and how much our time is worth. It was really a good conversation and very neat to see light bulbs go off. In the end, we based our base price on the word 'welcome.' From there we figured out the rest. We feel our prices are fair and reasonable."

The Scrabble Tile fundraiser will take the club to the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia with the 4-H Show-Me Wares program. There, it will have a time-slot during which members can sell the tiles to customers from across the whole state.

"I want youth to learn that they are capable of making a product that the public wants – that's a great learning experience," Birk said.

In addition to a trip to the State Fair, the Junior Leaders will make plans to visit Scott County's commissioners to learn about their jobs and what place they have within the county. Members have also expressed a desire to visit any local businesses that will open their doors to them. They seek to learn about the workforce, professionalism and what it takes to operate a place of business, according to Birk.

The Scott County 4-H Junior Leaders club is supported by a grant from the United Way of Southeast Missouri.

The 4-H Youth Development Program is the youth outreach program from the land-grant institutions' cooperative extension services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 4-H serves as a model program for the practice of positive youth development by creating positive learning experiences; positive relationships for and between youth and adults; positive, safe environments; and opportunities for positive risk taking.

The mission of 4-H is to engage youth as valued, contributing members of their communities in partnership with caring adults.

Junior Leaders is a 4-H club for youth ages 12-18. They are placed in a leadership position to help younger 4-H members, encouraging them to be more involved in 4-H and the experiences it offers.

Some opportunities include Teen Conference, State Congress, Legislative Academy, the State Public Speaking Contest, and Youth Civic Leaders Summit, all of which Grubbs has attended.

The club president has also applied for 4-H National Conference, the pinnacle experience in 4H Citizenship held in Washington D.C, an event which provides the opportunity for young people to connect, learn, engage, lead, and impact their communities, nation, and world. Isabelle Brewer, a junior at Kelly High School, knows just how far one can go in 4-H.

Last summer, Brewer boarded a bus with approximately 45 other 4-H youth from across the state of Missouri on the Citizenship Washington Focus Tour to explore Washington, Baltimore, and New York---the only 4-H member from Scott County to do so.

This May, Brewer will go on another exciting journey. She has a passion for horses, and will be participating in the 4-H Equine Tour. This trip will take her out west to Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado, exploring equine-related career options for teens aspiring to learn more about the world of horses. The itinerary will include visits to top horse ranches, dude ranches, and a Colorado mountain trail ride.

In addition to meeting nationally-recognized leaders and trainers in the equine industry, participants will also visit Colorado State University.

While being a member of the Scott County 4-H Junior Leaders does offer many opportunities to go on trips, the club's true focus is on leadership, maintaining a strong work ethic, citizenship, and entrepreneurship, among other important principles.

The Scott County 4-H Jr. Leaders club convenes regularly throughout the school year, participating in activities that teach the importance of properly conducting a meeting. If any youth ages 12-18 are interested in finding out more about the club, email Birk at Inquiries about the purchase of Scrabble Tile Wall Art may be directed to the same address.