Category Archives: Get Involved!

Paul Skeffington Memorial Race: More Than Just A Road Race

The first running of the Paul Skeffington Memorial Race took place on June 11th, 1988. It was started by the family of Paul Skeffington, a popular local businessman, who passed away in January of 1988. At that time, I was the Director of the DeWitt Chamber of Commerce Chamber so when the family asked for ideas for a memorial we proposed a race/run/walk with proceeds to go towards community projects.  Paul had been an avid walker and huge supporter of the community, so this seemed like a natural fit.  So how did we “run a race”?  Well, with the help of a group of runners, along with the Skeffington family, other volunteers, and business sponsors we put on a race that had 330 participants…but who would have thought that 31 years later the race would still be running!!!  Over the years, this race, under the direction of a hardworking group of volunteers, has grown in popularity.  The postrace party has evolved into a community, family friendly event.  In fact, this will be the first time our postrace party will be listed on the Tunes in Town schedule and promoted as the only Saturday night concert with music by Wild Oatz, food by the DeWitt Nite Lions, and a beer garden sponsored by Hall of Fame Pizza & Wings & Scott Drug. You can find additional information on our web site http://skeffrace.com/

And true to its original mission, the Paul Skeffington Memorial Race continues to support improvement projects for our community. The race annually provides two $500 scholarships to Central DeWitt High School seniors. The race has also made significant contributions to DeWitt Parks and Recreation projects that include a $30,000 donation towards the new bridge at Westbrook Park and $25,000 for the Paul Skeffington Memorial Trail expansion that will be part of this year’s race course.  I was actively involved with the race for the first 10 years.  At that point in time, I felt it was time for new leadership and stepped back.  Three years ago, I was approached to serve as the race director – Thinking back to the legacy of Paul, his commitment and support of the community and to fitness, I found myself saying yes…And I also found that some things haven’t changed.  The race is still organized by an excellent group of volunteers.  The Fun Run is still FREE and we’ve gone back to having a bike give away for the youngsters who take part.  And the cost of the race has stayed the same since the first one which is due to the phenomenal sponsorship support we get from area businesses!  And post party keeps evolving into a community gathering of runners, walkers, spectators, with family friendly events, food, and FREE entertainment!

I moved to DeWitt in 1977 as a newlywed and I’ve never looked back.  DeWitt has Delivered my hometown…it’s where my 3 kids were all born and raised. It’s where I had the opportunity to  help DeWitt grow while serving as the first full time Executive Director of the DeWitt Chamber and Development Corporation.  I’ve served on numerous local, state, and national boards that helped keep DeWitt in the spotlight. I’ve traveled the world but always look forward to coming back to DeWitt, my home.

Ilene Deckert – Paul Skeffington Memorial Race Director 

 

 

 

Joseph’s Story

Many of you have probably heard of St. Baldrick’s and think of it as an event where people get their heads shave to raise money to help in the fight against childhood cancer.  However, there is really so much more to this event and some great success stories of kids with cancer, beating cancer and getting healthy, in part from the funds raised from St.Baldrick’s.  My son Joseph is one of those children and here is his story…

In 2011, Joseph was a seemingly healthy 5-year-old who was looking forward to starting Kindergarten that fall.  In mid-July, all that changed when we found out he had an inoperable brain tumor and hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain).   Dreams of kindergarten turned to wishes to see him healthy.  He was unresponsive for a few days and we longed just to see his baby blue eyes and smile again.

That was over 6 years ago, but we still remember going to our first Iowa City appointment and hearing what his chemo regimen would be.  In Chicago, where he was diagnosed, the neurooncologist sat with us and explained that the “best” treatment they have for Joseph’s type of brain tumor is 60% effective.

Wow – as if hearing the words “your child has cancer” wasn’t life changing enough now the best we could hope for was a little more than a 50/50 chance that the chemo would cure his cancer.

Joseph is doing well (5 years off treatment).  He is fairly healthy but we are still watching some issues due to chemo and he is starting to slowly overcome some latent effects of his chemo but we are still getting good reports that his tumor is stable.

Childhood cancer is different in the treatment of it.  Detection alone is an issue as unlike adult cancers, in 80% of kids with cancer it has already spread to other parts of the body by the time it is diagnosed.  Not only are the cancer’s specific to where they occur such as a brain tumor vs leukemia but it also is dependent on their age.  Certain cancers are treated differently based on the age of the child which just adds to the complexity of treating pediatric cancer.   Joseph’s chemo had a 60% chance of working, we were in the lucky 60%.  However even when cancers are 90% curable that still means that 10% of the parents hearing those words “your child has cancer” will lose their child and that’s not ok.

The funding is not there from other sources for childhood cancer research.  The fact is only 4% of federal funding goes to childhood cancer.  About 60% of all funding for drug development in adult cancers come from pharmaceutical companies – yet they fund almost none in childhood cancer because they are not profitable.

While there are treatments for many of the childhood cancers out there, not only are they not 100% effective, they leave lasting effects.  The nurse told us at our first appointment when we were learning all about Joseph’s chemo regimen that the chemo will destroy good, bad cells and it is a poison so it attacks many types of cells not just the cancer cells.  So not only were we just 2 weeks past finding out that our son had a brain tumor but now we were being told that we were going to be giving him poison to make him better.  No one takes their child to the doctor and gets poison to treat an infection – you give them something that is fairly low risk.  This is not ok.  The treatments take a toll on these children’s bodies.  Yes, many go on to live into adulthood but the fact is that through the years into adulthood we will be watching for potential issues caused by Joseph’s chemo which may show up this year or may show up in 5 years or 20 years.  We don’t live our life in fear but this is a reality.  This is a reality of all pediatric cancer survivors.

And even if your child is lucky enough to survive their cancer, statistics show that by the time “they’re 45 years old, more than 95% of survivors will have a chronic health problem and 80% will have severe or life-threatening conditions”.

Great things can come from research and hopefully one day when a parent hears those words “your child has cancer” it will be followed by the words “but we have a cure for that” or “we have a treatment for that and he/she is going to be ok”.  That’s what we dream of – that’s why we participate in St. Baldrick’s and promote it because they are helping to fund the research that will one day lead to a cure.

This year, in addition to the head shaving, there is a new part to the event called “Short Hair, Don’t Care”.  For those people wanting to become heroes for kids with cancer but not ready to brave the shave, we have created a “Short Hair, Don’t Care” part to the event where people can donate 8 or more inches of their hair to an organization that gives wigs to kids affected by cancer.

We are looking for shavees or people to donate inches of hair and barbers for this year’s event.

The annual St. Baldrick’s event will take place on March 24th, 2018 at the Community Center in DeWitt’s Lincoln Park.  There will be food, music, kids’ activities, a bake sale and silent auction.

Those interested in participating can REGISTER HERE!

Click here to stay up-to-date with St. Baldrick’s of Clinton County and like their Facebook page.

Donations can be made at the same website as above. If you want to donate by check or have questions please contact me directly at 563-249-7663 or by email.

Your support of St. Baldrick’s may seem so simple yet it truly means so much to families and kids affected by cancer.

Julie Burken – Mom of Joseph Burken-pediatric cancer survivor and Organizer/Shavee-Clinton County St. Baldricks 2018

How to Get the Love You Want

Love is in the air.  We’re rapidly approaching Valentine’s Day.  Most of us are either pining for a partner, head-over-heels in love or struggling to keep the love alive with our partner.  I have experienced all those states of being.  Also, having been a United Methodist pastor for over 20 years, I have observed countless other’s heartache, joy and pain in their quest to find and keep love.

I am happy to report that it is possible to find and have a committed, long-term loving relationship that both deepens over time and has the same hot spark of those first few weeks of falling in love.  I know this because I have it!  My wife, Winter and I have been together more than seventeen years now and people still ask us, “Are you newly-weds?”  I am amazed that I still fall more in love with her every day and she tells me she feels the same way.

“How can this be?” I would have asked 20 years ago.  My marriage to my first wife had been on the rocks almost from the day we said, “I do.”  We loved each other but after 7 years of struggling to make it work, we decided the best way to honor our commitment “to love and to cherish” was to let each other go.

What I have discovered was that the best advice my father gave me was “spot on.”  He advised, “Marry your best friend.”  What I wish he would have followed up that advice with was, “There is a big difference between very, very good and best.”  The difference is that with your best friend, the two foundation stones of a relationship are easy.  These foundation stones are not ‘hot sex’ and shared hobbies.  Instead, they are trust and communication.  Not very sexy.  But, within a short period of time without trust and communication, you aren’t going to be doing anything considered sexy.

When you marry your best friend, trust is a given and communication is easy.  Your best friend likes/loves you for who you are and vice versa.  You can spend countless hours together and not get bored.  You bring out each other’s best. You are able to call out the misses because you know you have each other’s best interest at heart.  And, when trust and communication are firing on all cylinders, you will be enjoying all kinds of things that are very sexy indeed!

My life purpose has always been to grow health, wellness and joy in life.  When pondering the most effective place to start working on this purpose, I remembered the poem written by an unknown monk around 1100 AD,

“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”

So, I wrote my first book, “After Ever After: Finding and Keeping the Love of a Lifetime” with that in mind.  It begins with me and ends with my greatest hope that everyone is able to have the love they most desire.  If you are interested in exploring further how trust and communication can strengthen your relationships, I invite you to join me on Saturday, February 10 at 10:00 AM at the Francis Banta Waggoner Community Library for my workshop, “50 Ways to Love Your Lover.”  I’ll be signing copies of “After Ever After” at the end of the workshop. You can also find the book for purchase at my blog at www.tomboomershine.com or you can purchase a copy at THE CROSSROADS Inspired Living & Garden Cafe.

Peace,

Tom Boomershine – DeWitt United Methodist Church Pastor &  Founder of EcoSphere Coaching

Feeling Blessed and Welcomed this Christmas Season

My family just celebrated our first anniversary as DeWitt residents on Sept 18th.  That was a special day to be finally living in the community where we planted Cornerstone Baptist Church DeWitt three years previously.

It has been a great year.  We are very thankful for the transition our two youngest children have experienced from North Scott to Central DeWitt schools.  Teachers, administration, parents and students went out of their way to welcome our kids and help them to get connected.  That “outreach” has helped our family feel even more accepted and welcome.  We all know that when people bless our kids they are also blessing the parents.   

Going out of our way to welcome new people is really one of the most important things we all can do, whether it be to guests coming to your church for the first time or customers walking into your business or new families moving into the community.  Being good at welcoming others translates into new church members or returning customers or families that will choose to raise their kids and grand-kids here.

My family’s transition wasn’t as difficult as others that move into our community.  Some are coming from out of state.  Some are coming from different socioeconomic situations.  Some are coming from more dangerous environments where it wasn’t safe walking down main street. For some it will take time for them to lower their guard and feel comfortable in this safer environment.  May we continue to excel at welcoming new people into our wonderful community so they can experience all that DeWitt has to offer.  

May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed 2018.

Mark Zevenbergen- Campus Pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church Dewitt

Small Town Business Serving a World-Wide Racing Industry

For a little over a year, Grothus Dragbikes (GDB) has been proud to call the welcoming and  flourishing town of DeWitt its new home for both our motorcycle dragbike product manufacturing & sales as well as our professional race team headquarters. With involvement in the motorcycle drag racing industry for well over twenty-five years, we at GDB are proud to be an industry leading manufacturer of 200+ mph motorcycles built in the Crossroads (to Opportunity) Business Park.

A vision of a motorcycle drag racing team that started in the 1980’s has now grown into a world-wide business serving customers from all across North America to as far as Greece and Saudi Arabia. With a desire to pursue our manufacturing interests, we are constantly innovating and engineering products to take motorcycle drag racing to newer and safer heights. While doing so, we are able to put our STEM skills to use day in and day out as we build drag racing components and a knowledge database that helps ourselves and our customers win on race day. Grothus Dragbikes allows us to combine two things we are passionate about – first and most obviously, Drag Racing – secondly, manufacturing. Merging both of our passions allows us to be a unique business as we truly “race what we sell”. This means that we are able to rigorously test our products at both the shop and racetracks across the nation in order to make beneficial changes to them prior to their official release to the consumer.

Many of our high quality components, now all manufactured in DeWitt, were on display as part of Manufacturing/STEM Fest presented by the DeWitt Chamber & Development Company and the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council earlier this month. We were proud to exemplify our exciting contributions to manufacturing with over 1,000 engaged students from rural Clinton County School Districts, including the Central DeWitt Community School DistrictSt. Joseph Catholic School & Calamus-Wheatland Community School. From the Science behind rotating mass and enhancing combustion, to the Technology we use with CAD CAM software in the designing, testing and machining product phases, to the Engineering of lighter, stronger components, to the Math of calculations of weight distributions and forces, STEM is very much a part of the racing industry. STEM Fest was an incredible opportunity to help showcase the varied and exciting industries where manufacturing plays a pivotal role. Speaking to students about their interests and what excites them about manufacturing made for a successful event indeed! 

Bradley Grothus – Grothus Drag Bikes

Thankful I “Was Born In a Small Town” with BIG Opportunities

I am a Central DeWitt Alumni double majoring in Marketing and Event Management at Iowa State University. I proudly tout my I <3 DeWitt koozie with me around Ames and I love having my friends visit my hometown. Although DeWitt is a small town, we have so much to offer! After working at various places in DeWitt, and as Marketing and Events Intern at First Central State Bank this summer, I have had the opportunity to experience many different roles within the community.

When I look back, growing up in DeWitt was perfect. I wouldn’t change ANYTHING. I attended St. Joes K-8th and learned so much about community, being a friend, and being a productive student. As a kid, there were so many ways to be active in DeWitt. Although sports weren’t always my thing, in a small community they were a way to learn how to be a team mate and see community members support each other. 4-H taught me how to work hard, apply myself, and give back to my community.

In high school, I found my passion for business. Mr. Petsche encouraged me to join Future Business Leaders of America and enroll in various business courses. He was an amazing mentor and opened my eyes to all the opportunities DeWitt has for young professionals. Once I reached my senior year of high school, I became the Dewitt Chamber and Development Company’s very first intern. The DCDC now hosts an intern each year and continues to give them the tools necessary to be successful.

Although I have been a Cyclone my entire life, it became real the fall of 2015 when I packed up my belongings and made the trip to Ames to embark on my college journey at Iowa State University. I realized how fortunate I was that my hometown school, Central DeWitt Community School District, provided so many amazing duel credit opportunities.   Because of this I began my college career with a plethora of credits and could jump right into my core business classes and continue on pursuing my dreams. Freshmen are typically told it is hard to get an internship, not impossible but uncommon. I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I had seen various Facebook posts about the Ohnward Leadership Program and was eager to apply.  What’s better than being able to come back to your hometown AND have an adult job?

Guess What?  I got the job! The Ohnward Leadership Program helped me find my strengths and nurture my passion for social media marketing, design, and event planning. Learning about community banks only strengthened my dedication to my hometown and my views of pursuing a career within a small community. I was able to attend many different community based committee meetings for the Central DeWitt Performing Arts Center, DeWitt Chamber & Development Company, LincolnWay Foundation of Greater Dubuque and the DeWitt Crossroads Triathlon. Sitting in on these committee meetings gave me a new perspective on community involvement and a great appreciation for everyone who continues to volunteer their time to make our community thrive.

Fast-forward to THIS year! You may have seen me out and about representing First Central State Bank!  Throughout the summer months I served as a Marketing and Events intern. Aside from managing First Central’s various social media platforms, I assist in the planning and implementation of various events that we sponsor throughout the year.  Having the opportunity to donate my time and efforts into making events like the Clinton County Fair successful and exciting, is extremely rewarding. For example, this year I designed and implemented fun Snapchat filters to use at the fair! This was something outside of the box for First Central.  Piloting this idea at First Central and seeing the results was very exciting and rewarding.  First Central State Bank has been receptive to new ideas, continues to offer opportunities to put ones passion, and interests to work.  This in turn continues to benefit our local communities in various ways.

I have determined through the years that, without exceptional teachers, parents, mentors, and employers I would not be the young professional that I am today. My education and these various local opportunities have shaped my knowledge and experience, but my mentors have encouraged my passions and interests. Ultimately, Central DeWitt Community School District, First Central State Bank, Ohnward Bancshares, Inc., Iowa State University, my friends and family and the DeWitt Community provided me with opportunities for growth.  I will be forever thankful that I was born in a SMALL town with BIG opportunities.

Thank you, DeWitt!

Madeleine Blandin –  Central DeWitt Alumni, Class of 2015                                                                 Junior Double Majoring in Marketing and Event Management at Iowa State University

A Celebration 40 Years in the Making!

The Central Community Historical Society was organized in 1977 after DeWitt celebrated its Bicentennial in 1976. There was $2,200 left from the Bicentennial funds and Marvin Doescher, who was the town historian, wanted to start a small museum and historical society in DeWitt. The interested group met at his home and by March, 1977 “The Central Community Historical Society” had its beginning. Ann Soenksen, was elected President, Vice President:  Ed Green, Secretary:  Linda Jasper, Treasurer: Eleanor Arey. Board members : Coral Hesse, Virginia Templeton, Genevieve Endries, and Marvin Doescher.

For the next ten years the Central Community Historical Society held monthly meetings at The DeWitt Community Center. Numerous programs were held during this time including Historical Tours throughout the county for a number of years. Programs on dolls, toys, quilts, aprons, a style show and local artists along with others were presented. The Society also participated in local events in the area. In addition during March the society featured a special “Old Fashioned Day” presentation at the 4-H grounds.

Marvin Doescher passed away in 1983. He had stored all the items that were donated and collected by the Historical Society at his produce business in DeWitt. A year or so after his death the business was sold and the items were taken to the Doescher home and to Floyd and Ann Soenksen’s home. Well the donations kept coming and in 1987 the Society was in dire need of a building as space was running out at the two homes.

Fortunately the Krukow family, who owned the building at 628 6th Ave knew the Historical Society was looking for a building to open as a museum. The society had built up about half the purchase price that the Krukow family was asking for their building. President Ann Soenksen then went to the DeWitt City Council for assistance and got the other half of the purchase price. This was to be received in increments over the next five years.

The Society immediately began restoration of the building which involved many hours and the help of volunteers as there was a great deal of clean-up and hard work to complete the project. The museum doors opened with a dedication on June 14, 1987. Donations kept coming in and soon the original building wasn’t large enough to display all the items. The Society applied for and received a grant from the Gaming Commission and built a metal building to the south of the original museum building

The Society has been the recipient of two estate donations which help tremendously in making it possible for the Society to purchase a third building directly east of the original building and also to allow the building of another metal building to the southeast. The society continues to receive donations and is very grateful to all the donors, members and especially to the volunteers, who have helped to make The Historical Society Museum a great asset to the community of DeWitt and its surrounding area.

I would like to say that spending the last 40 years seeing the Central Community Historical Society grown from $2,200 to the four buildings on a quarter of a city block  museum has been very rewarding. I feel it is very important to save our past for the future generations. To understand how the old phones, cameras, books, toys, clothes, dishes and furniture work and looked like.

My own personal interest in the museum is our genealogy area. I have been doing genealogy since 1963 when my paternal grandmother passed away. I feel that it is very important to know where we came from and the struggles and lives that our ancestors lived. I want to invite everyone to stop in for our open house on Aug. 20th from 1-4 and visit the museum.  We also encourage people who are looking for a volunteer opportunity to let us know.  We can always use help with the many tasks that it takes to keep the museum available for the public to enjoy. Also, think of donating to the Society if you come across things that might be a good fit for our collections and displays.

Ann Soenksen, President: Central Community Historical Society

Fresh Food & Friendly Conversations

At the core of community is the sharing of food.  A farmer’s market is a shared space wherein folks meet face to face and talk about food.  Perhaps this explains why the number of farmer’s markets nationwide have increased from 1755 in 1996 to 8,144 in 2013.  A farmer’s market connects people together.  A farmer’s market provides space for friendly conversations with folks who actually have grown, harvested and prepared food.  Folks at a farmer’s market share not only the food itself, but also information about how the food is grown and prepared.  Shoppers  at a farmer’s market can ask questions and express their preferences in face to face conversations with vendors.

‘Walkable space’ is a term used by city planners and developers to refer to a shared space within community that is accessible on foot.  There’s really nothing new about this concept—in plain English, we call this space a “park”.  Such shared spaces seem to connect people together and enhance the quality of life in a community. Here in DeWitt our farmer’s market is centrally located on the east side of Lincoln Park Thursday afternoons (between 3:30-6:30PM) from May thru October.  Although we struggle from time to time with unpleasant weather, on good days many folks seem to enjoy a walk to the market from their homes.  There is grass, shade, benches, and picnic tables, and a playground nearby.  The DeWitt Farmer’s Market is a relaxing way to get some exercise on a summer afternoon and to visit with neighbors.  It doesn’t cost as much money as some other outdoor entertainment.   It’s truly a nice walk in the park.

John Ivens, Farmers Market Manager

It’s Not Just A Day Off: The Meaning of Memorial Day

What does Memorial Day mean to you? Brats, burgers, beverages, and time spent with friends and family. We look forward to the long weekend, shorts, and flip flops, but the reason behind the celebration may often be overlooked.

My grandfather would wake up each morning and raise his flag. He would pull on the rope, and the pulley would squeak like a trapped field mouse. His eyes were fixed on Old Glory as the stripes waived, and the stars appeared and disappeared in the gentle breeze. With a few quick flips of his wrist, the hoist rope would be secured to the cleat. Melvin would take two large steps back, and again fix his gaze on our country’s flag. I remember counting in my head just to see how long his stare would last. One one-thousand, two-one thousand, three one-thousand. Often, his mental journey would be cut short when my grandmother’s voice would echo from inside the house soliciting his assistance with breakfast. He’d drop his head, square his shoulders, and return to his husbandly duties.

Melvin Swiderski served in World War II. As an infantryman, he would often tell me comedic stories about waking up intoxicated on a bus bench in Italy, and branding himself with nothing but his field knife and ink pen. My mom would quickly chastise him for filling my head with tales of crazy antics. Melvin would look at her, and then look back at me, and issue a playful wink. He didn’t speak of death, sorrow, loss, and anger, but, if you paid attention, you would catch a glimpse of anchored memories in the corner of his brown eyes.

I’ll never know the details of Melvin’s experience. He passed away in 2008, and was given a funeral with military honors. He was preceded in death by his wife Laura, so I had the privilege of presenting the flag to my Aunt Pat. I was wearing my dress blues, with my own combat ribbons pinned to my chest. She cried. I cried.

I served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Because of my service, I now have the privilege of telling my own tales of inebriated pit stops and youthful shenanigans. When the laughter begins to fade, my thoughts always drift toward memories that will forever tattoo my soul with appreciation, and deep-rooted respect for those who offered the ultimate sacrifice.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for every soldier, airman, seamen, and Marine who has died serving in the American armed forces. My charge to you is to take a moment on May 29th to reflect on the importance of their actions. Memorial Day is to be celebrated, but never let the celebration over shadow the sacrifice.

Written by Andy Sokolovich, Clinton, IA, in honor and remembrance of Melvin Swiderski (Pop-Pop). Birth: 07/02/1920, Death: 09/13/2008, Veteran, United States Army

Salute to Volunteers

Each year, thousands of volunteers in Iowa donate their time and energy to make their communities a better place to live. Thirty-three percent (33%) of Iowans volunteer, ranking Iowa tenth among the 50 states (Source Corporation for National Community Service). These volunteers will be among the millions across the country who will be spotlighted during National Volunteer Week, April 23-29, 2017.

Clinton County and DeWitt volunteers pay it forward by dedicating their time and talents to the next generation – an investment that cycles back into our community while building relationships that nourish future generations.  Look around and you’ll see the impact our volunteers make – through the smiles and successes of our youth.  They are rewarded by sharing their experiences, learning new things, and building partnerships, not to mention the fun and fulfillment that volunteering brings to their life.

One group that relies heavily on volunteer support is the 4-H Youth Development Program. Last year in Clinton County, 112 volunteers serve in many roles including 4-H and Clover Kids club leaders, project leaders, and committee members for the 4-H Youth Development Program. 4-H volunteers serve as caring adults who help young people develop communication, citizenship, and leadership skills through 4-H projects and community service opportunities. Volunteers create safe environments for youth to learn, thrive, and grow.

I am truly impressed by the work of the 4-H Club Leaders, many who have been volunteering for over ten years, some over 40 years!  They meet individually with youth to help them with projects, in addition to providing guidance at monthly club meetings.  It is a requirement that 4-H volunteers who work directly with youth attend annual trainings, to network and learn new skills in positive youth development and risk management.

The 4-H program has helped many youth in Clinton County to achieve goals outside of the classroom, while working with a caring adult.  Volunteers in the 4-H program help youth to become engaged in their community, make new friends, and accomplish their goals, which ultimately can deter at-risk youth from making a bad decision.

With an ever-changing world, the 4-H Youth Development program is adapting and offering more opportunities for youth and volunteers in areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; Communications and the Arts; Citizenship and Leadership; and Healthy Living. The expanding programming reflects new opportunities for youth and volunteers alike.

The Clinton County Club Show at the fair is a showcase of what projects youth have completed throughout the year  and you will see many animals being showcased during the fair.  Animals are just one of over 150 project areas that youth may participate in.  In every 4-H project you see exhibited at the fair, there is most often an adult volunteer that has mentored the youth along the way with the project — paying it forward to the next generation!

Celebrate National Volunteer Week with us and I encourage you to explore more about Clinton County 4-H Program and volunteer opportunities!

Brianne Johnson – Clinton County 4-H Program Manager with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach –Clinton County