More than 100 prospective 4-Hers and their parents attended the annual Val Verde 4-H Kick-Off in Del Rio Rotary Park on Sunday.
“My son Nicolas, who’s 11 years old, he’s big into shooting, so I wanted to see if I could get him into the shooting sports program, not only for the shooting, but to learn about discipline with the weapon and safety,” said Del Rioan Ray Duran, who signed up for more information about the program for his son.
Centered on the Rotary Park pavilion, the event featured stations operated by veteran 4-Hers to disseminate information about different 4-H programs.
Youngsters interested in the popular 4-H shooting sports program were able to “shoot” scoped plastic “rifles” that shot soft darts at targets.
“We’re showing kids what they’ll learn in the shooting sports project, and we’re simulating what a regular shooting sports meeting would be like. During the meetings, you shoot three different times at a target. We do standing, laying down and kneeling. It’s also about gun safety and how to handle a gun,” said 4-Her Bess Coggins, who has been involved with the county 4-H program for about a decade.
At another station, 4-H veterans Clarissa Ponce and Stockton Taylor explained the inner workings of the food and nutrition project.
“The food and nutrition project is a lot of fun. Basically, you learn about food, kitchen safety, food safety and the different food groups,” said Clarissa, who added she has been in 4-H food and nutrition project for two years.
She said one of the things she really enjoys about involvement in the project is that she gets to travel to other parts of the state and meet and compete with other 4Hers.
“Another benefit is that you get to do public speaking, which is something not a lot of kids know about these days. They’re shy. They are on their phones or playing games and not talking to other people,” said Stockton, who added he enjoys going to the state 4-H roundup.
At another booth, 4-Hers Pasch Gibbs, Paige Qualia and Charlie Hyslop quizzed interested youngsters about livestock. The youngsters gave their answers by tossing a ball into a tub of water. At yet another station, youngsters were able to throw darts at balloons and learn about various programs offered by 4-H.
“We had a great turn out at the Kick-Off, and I hope that everyone who came out got a glimpse of all the unique opportunities 4-H offers our youth. The biggest misconception out there is that you have to show livestock to be in 4-H, and I hope the various activities we had at the Kick-Off showed young people and their parents that 4-H has something for everyone,” Emily Grant, county extension agent for agriculture, natural resources and 4-H, said after the event.
Grant and Raquel Rodriguez, county extension agent for family, community and health, estimated about 130 persons attended the 4-H Kick-Off.
“This year’s theme is ‘Val Verde 4-H: The Greatest Show on Earth!’ Our 4-H truly is great and to see our current families interact with our new families was wonderful. The 4-H Kick-Off is an event that allows all those interested in 4-H to learn more about the different projects and service opportunities we offer,” Rodriguez said.
“It was neat to see the 4-H officers explain the different projects to prospective members. If anyone is interested or has questions, they can call the office or simply stop by the Dink Wardlaw Ag Complex at 300 E. 17th St.,” she added.