BROOKINGS – Brookings County 4-H members made and donated 77 blankets during the 2017-2018 statewide Blanket Buddies service project – the most blankets donated of any South Dakota county.
“Service to community is among the core values upon which 4-H is built,” said Hilary Risner, SDSU Extension regional 4-H youth program adviser. “It states in the pledge 4-Hers recite each club meeting, “I pledge my hands to larger service….’”
And service to their community is the reason the Bruce Honey Bees 4-H Club set aside time during their club meeting to make 13 blankets to donate to a local nursing home, the Estelline Nursing & Care Center. “It shows the members that if we all come together as a team, we can make a much larger impact than working on something by ourselves,” said Bobbi Shultz, the club’s leader.
Character-building traits, like service to others, is among the reasons Shultz and her husband, Chad, wanted their three children – Elizabeth, 14; Trevor, 11; and Zachary, 9 – to become involved in 4-H.
“We were both 4-H members growing up, and we couldn’t wait to have our kids involved in 4-H,” said Shultz, who credits the public speaking practice she received as a 4-H member with preparing her to be comfortable making presentations today as a professional.
This year, her daughter, Elizabeth, put together a 4-H presentation on “How to Store Lettuce.” She agrees with her mom.
“I like how there are a lot of different activities I can do. I have learned how to become a better leader,” she said. Elizabeth serves as the club president and is an eighth-grader at Sioux Valley School.
Elizabeth also enjoyed working with her 4-H friends and making blankets for community members.
“I liked when we made them, doing it as a group made it fun.”
Service to others
Each year the teens who serve as state 4-H ambassadors and the delegation that attends the SDSU Extension Teen Leadership Conference select a service project for all 4-H members and families to participate in.
All told, 944 blankets were donated across South Dakota through the 2017-2018 Blanket Buddies service project by 27 county 4-H programs, Teen Leadership Conference and the South Dakota Association of Extension 4-H Professionals.
Brookings County received a plaque in recognition of its focus on service to others.
“Statewide service projects like Blanket Buddies give 4-H members a sense of participating in something much bigger than themselves and their 4-H club,” said Sonia Mack, SDSU Extension 4-H youth program adviser for Brookings County.
2019 4-H service project
The 2018-19 South Dakota 4-H statewide community service project, selected by teen members during the annual SDSU Extension Teen Leadership Conference, is Soles4Souls.
Soles4Souls is an organization empowering groups to host shoe drives, where all donated shoes will go to those in need. More details will be released soon.