Extension agent speaks at Franklin Rotary meeting

Jodi Camp/Franklin Favorite

Catherine Webster (right), Simpson County Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development Education, talked to the Franklin Rotary Club at their October 31 meeting, about what 4-H is and the different programs 4-H offers community members ages 5-18.

Simpson County Cooperative Extension Agent Catherine Webster spoke at the Franklin Rotary Club's regular meeting on Thursday, Oct. 31. Webster specifically touched on 4-H activities during her presentation.

Webster shared a slide show of the different clubs offered through the Simpson County Cooperative Extension and what her job entails.

"My job is to bring the research based programs that the university has, the youth programs that the university has to Simpson County and the way that I do that is through the 4-H Youth Development program," Webster said.

One of the programs is the School Enrichment program offered to grades fourth through eighth, like Measurement Labs, where students at Lincoln Elementary practice measuring ingredients to make something.

There is also the Reality Store, STOP, Environmental Field Day, Youth Health Fair, Safety Day, Chick Incubation and Dollars and Sense where fifth or sixth graders get $200 dollars to spend at different booths to learn how far a dollar really goes.

"So we give them the money, they visit all the booths and they have to budget," Webster said.

The only mandatory program across the entire state are the 4-H camps offered to members and non-members. She talked about the two camp offered, Cloverbud Camp and 4-H Camp.

In the Rotary meeting it was noted that more people went to a 4-H camp then were actually members of 4-H in their youth.

Other programs and clubs offered are the Cloverbud club, for ages 5-8; the 4-H Relay for Life Team, Helping Hands, Clovercats, Sewing, Wildcat Chefs, Photo Cats, Lucky Spurs, SET Club, Art Club, Outdoor Adventures Club, Poultry Club, Exchange, Legends Shooting Sports, Adulting 101 for high school students and Speech 4-H Club.

"If you see a club you are interested in listed in that program, we have cards at our office just specifically for each club," Webster said.

She also talked about her favorite project, the Country Ham project, where 4-H members learn to cure their own country ham.

"We will start this in December, kids can sign up now and you do not have to be in 4-H, we can enroll you in 4-H to do the country ham program," Webster said.

The Extension Office will be selling a ham at the Ag Breakfast in a few weeks at the Methodist Church and the price will fund about 12 kids to do the project free of charge, she said.

She was also excited to announce the Blender Bike is back in Simpson County for the entire month of November and will make an appearance at the Franklin-Simpson Middle Schools Night of Innovation.

"It's ultimate goal is that we are promoting physical activity and nutrition, but it's just fun," Webster said.

During the meeting, Chris Young, president of the Rotary Club of Franklin, honored former member Thomas "Tom" Gillespie's son, Eric Gillespie, with his father's badge and a resolution to honor Tom Gillespie as a Rotarian.

"We want to present this to you as a club for his service to us," Young said.

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