Southeast 4-H Regional Energizer held for area youth
ADVANCE, Mo. — “Can you imagine not knowing what a present is?” asked Dr. Linda Morgan, Lower Midwest Regional Manager at Samaritan’s Purse - Operation Christmas Child and the opening speaker for the 2019 Southeast 4-H Regional Energizer held Feb. 9 at Advance Elementary School in Advance.
Morgan told the listening audience of youth ranging in age between 8 and 18 years of age that children who receive a shoebox from Operation Christmas Child have never opened a gift before. She shared stories of children being encouraged by gifts, letters and pictures sent in shoeboxes.
At the end of her presentation, Morgan challenged youth that this is one way of using their hands to meet a need. She also presented a workshop on ways to pack a good shoebox.
Nearly 80 4-H youth and 30 4-H volunteers from six counties in the Southeast Region attended the event. The focus of the day was the third H – Hands - of the 4-H pledge. The third H is all about our hands to larger service.
Though 4-H members often think of their hands as service tools, 4-H breaks this H into two categories: giving and working. Each category is broken down further: Giving through community service/volunteering, leadership roles, being a responsible citizen or our contribution to a group. Working using and learning marketable skills, teamwork or self-motivation.
Throughout the day, youth attended workshops focused on ways to use their hands to larger service through organizations such as United Way of Southeast Missouri, SEMO Food Bank, Rescue Dogs, Equine Therapy, Operation Christmas Child, Ronald McDonald pull tabs, planting Liberty Trees and through skills learned in Tackling the Tough Skills.
Meanwhile adult workshops introduced Mark Goth from the Missouri 4-H Foundation and the role it plays. Adults also participated in a diversity activity that encouraged them to consider circumstances such as single-parent households, physical impairments, language barriers, being raised by grandparents while planning club activities.
In the afternoon, the adults learned about mental health issues that face youth and adults. The last afternoon session for youth involved hands-on service opportunities. Youth could either make dog chew toys from ripped up t-shirts, make tie blankets, or strip sheets for weighted blankets to be made at another time.
After working on these projects youth were treated with line dance lessons followed by a chance to use them in a dance for all.
During the month of February, Missouri 4-H is partnering with Feeding Missouri and regional Food Banks in a first-of-its-kind statewide food drive. As part of the Energizer, youth were asked to donate to this cause. Together, 4-H brought 236 pounds of food that was donated to the Southeast Food Bank.
If interested in this effort, contact your local Extension office and speak with your 4-H staff. Those attending from Scott County were Charleigh DeShaney, Sydney Merryman, Taylor McKnight and Isabelle Brewer.