By RORYE O’CONNOR
Jefferson County 4-H is offering a variety of special interest clubs to area youth, including a gardening club and a “doggone fun” pet care club.
The gardening club is a continuation of an earlier club hosted by Master Gardener Theresa Greene, said Jefferson County 4-H program coordinator Carla Chesnek.
“We had a beginner gardener club that ran from April to October,” Chesnek said, adding that Greene, one other Master Gardener, and Greene’s son, a Junior Master Gardener, hosted the club. “We had about 24 to 25 members sign up for it.”
In the earlier club, the beginners worked through the Junior Master Gardener handbook, using square foot gardening techniques and trellises to grow their own produce.
The upcoming Special Interest Gardening Club will meet 2 Saturdays a month from March through October and is for youth ages eight to 18. Both 4-H and non-4-H members are welcome to join the club. Those who join will learn more about gardening and raising plants from seeds and cuttings.
This is the first time for the “Doggone Fun” SPIN club, Chesnek said. The club is hosted by local dog groomer Deb Dixon, who held workshops last year on dog obedience.
“This was the first time in some time we had dog obedience during the 4-H Fair,” Chesnek said. “There were six kids who competed. Now Deb wants to expand, and she will teach about general pet care and how to properly groom pets.”
She said the SPIN club will be focused more toward dogs, but may include information about how to groom and care for cats and other pets as well. The club will hold eight meetings, and may begin in March. The club is for youth age 10 and older.
Jefferson County’s 4-H has had recent success with two special interest clubs in archery and crochet, Chesnek said.
“Our November archery class had 40 members,” she said. “I was shocked with the number of youth in Jefferson County who are interested in archery.”
She said the local 4-H is seeking individuals who would be interested in teaching a class on robotics or photography in particular, but any special interest, from sewing to welding, would be welcome.
“We have talked about a sport fishing club, maybe they could make their own lures,” she said. “We’re looking for a volunteer to take up that club and work with 4-H members who would like to learn more about fishing.”
She said the SPIN clubs need leaders who would be interested in teaching to boys, especially in the areas of welding or woodworking.
However, she said activities traditionally considered feminine have been a success as well.
“I know a lot of the parents when they bring their kids in, they’re so excited because they don’t know how to sew or crochet, and they like to see that tradition passed on to their kids,” she said. “We would take volunteers for any area of expertise someone would like to share with the kids.”
Anyone interested may call the University of Illinois Extension Office at 242-0780.