SPRINGVILLE—After participating in a 4-H club growing up, Melanie Ploetz has decided to start up a local 4-H club in Springville to spread her love for the program with more children.
The Springville area doesn’t have a 4-H club, leaving children to either join the association as an individual member or start a club in their town. Ploetz, whose son is now old enough to join 4-H, chose to start a Springville club. She put out feelers to gauge the interest levels, and was surprised by the number of community members who were interested.
“When I was younger, we had a 4-H club … now that my son will be able to just start, I was like I want to be able to have a 4-H club again and I thought for kicks and giggles if there would be anyone else out there interested and I didn’t think that I would have as much of a response as I did,” Ploetz said.
4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization that develops skills to help children in life through a variety of projects, hands-on activity, leadership opportunities and more. Programs and activities within a 4-H club can range from agriculture to animal showing to public speaking and building confidence within participants. The club allows children to develop their own path within 4-H based on their interests and with the help of their adult mentors.
“People assume that 4-H is just farmers … it’s not like that,” Ploetz said. “4-H is a wider, broad program that spans different aspects. It can go into business degrees, nutrition, mechanics … it’s not just raising cows. There is a lot more to it and the public needs to get more acquainted with it.”
While growing up in 4-H, Ploetz focused on animals, which taught her important life lessons while still having fun. She hopes to be able to teach those same lessons to new kids and help them have fun in whichever section of 4-H they want to pursue.
“It definitely helps kids and it’s one of the main reasons to get them interested in stuff and show them what’s out there,” Ploetz said. “I want to educate and hope kids have fun with it … I want to offer a new experience and bring back something that everyone used to be involved with.”
Children between the ages of 8 and 18 can become members of the 4-H, while those between the ages of 5 and 7 can join the Clover Buds. For more information on the Springville 4-H club, email Ploetz at firstname.lastname@example.org.