By Richard Rourk
Unicoi County 4-H has some surprises in store for this year’s observance of 4-H Week.
The 53rd annual 4-H week kicked off on Oct. 3 and will continue through Oct. 9.
“We are excited to celebrate 4-H Week, which began in 1968,” said Melissa Shelton, a UT Extension Unicoi County FCS/4-H Extension Agent I.
Shelton and company have been busy planning all sorts of events centered around 4-H Week.
“This week is a special time for Extension,” Shelton said. “We will be talking about 4-H on our Facebook page quite a bit this week. We encourage people to follow our page and share their 4-H stories and memories, as well as wear green this week to show your 4-H pride.”
During the kickoff to 4-H Week, Shelton announced the 2021-22 Unicoi County 4-H Ambassador.
“4-H is excited to have Isabella Laws as the 2021-2022 County Ambassador,” Shelton said.
“Isabella is a 5th year 4-H Unicoi County 4-H Honor Club member who competes in Forestry, Life Skills, and Livestock,” Shelton added. “Isabella represents 4-H in the community by demonstrating leadership in many ways, including helping with community service projects.”
The purpose of the Tennessee 4-H Ambassador Program is to empower 4-H members with the knowledge, skills and aspirations necessary to be effective leaders for their county program and Tennessee 4-H.
“Isabella is looking forward to representing Unicoi 4-H in this role over the next year by meeting new people and groups in the county,” Shelton said. “If your civic group is interested in having our ambassador as a guest speaker or presenter, email [email protected] for scheduling.”
Shelton noted that 4-H is a vital program for Unicoi County.
“4-H offers something for everyone,” Shelton said. “It provides opportunities for students in many ways. 4-H offers leadership and citizenship opportunities, as well as other project area opportunities related to agriculture, life skills and science.
“We are very fortunate here in Unicoi County to have so many students interested and involved in many project areas,” she continued. Being in a rural area gives Unicoi 4-H the opportunity to participate in traditional 4-H projects, especially livestock. Over the last few years our livestock program has grown and added many new members.”
The 4-H program is available to those in fourth grade and older.
“We’re back in the county schools now and always accepting new members,” Shelton said. “We have over 800 students enrolled in our 4-H clubs for Unicoi County. When we have 4-H Clubs in schools, students become a 4-H member.”
Besides in-school clubs, Shelton is re-starting a 4-H Honor Club on Oct. 28.
“Honor Club is for sixth through 12th graders who are interested in doing more 4-H activities outside of the classroom,” Shelton said. “We meet at the 4-H office at 6 p.m.”
Shelton said that the Unicoi County 4-H Facebook page stays up to date on what the students are doing.
“Also, we encourage parents to talk to their students after they have 4-H meetings at school,” she added.
Students get a newsletter when they meet that features 4-H news and information.