WILLIAMSON – Local chapters of the Mingo County 4-H attended Wednesday’s regular meeting of the Mingo County Commission to declare National 4-H Week in Mingo County.
“Today is the proclamation of the declaration of National 4-H Week in Mingo County. This is a day we always have a lot of fun with… These are students from our 4H club in Mingo County and we welcome you to our county commission meeting,” Commissioner John Mark Hubbard stated.
Students with the Mingo County 4-H filled the Courtroom in the Mingo County Courthouse. Mark Whitt with the WVU Extension Office spoke on behalf of Mingo County 4-H providing an update on recent activities and events as well as future possibilities. Due to busing problems, the only groups present were from Tug Valley High School and Matewan Middle. The commission extended the invitation for the groups that were unable to attend to join a commission meeting at a later date.
“Today we have our adult leaders with us. Without these folks we wouldn’t have a program in Mingo County… We wanted to do a bragging point on our team leaders. They help us run camps. This year, they did a project in Mingo County. Five year ago, our Gilbert Club put a quilt together and won first place at the W.Va. State Fair. They each got a small check and a ribbon. This year, our team leaders they coordinated to do a project at the state fair. Mingo County won Best of Show. They did a Mingo County Salutes our Troops. They did a 4×4 piece of plywood and made a clover out of army men and they made a nice flag out of green and white and put the 4-H clover where the stars are…We are really proud of the group. This is the first time we have taken a group to the state fair in quite some time but we have an active group of kids,” Whitt said.
Whitt continued discussing future plans of diversifying the economy through 4-H in the agriculture sector. Following a recent meeting with Gilbert 4-H, it may be possible to get involved in agriculture by raising cattle, chickens, etc. to get kids thinking about agriculture in the county. “We are going to look for two or three parcels of land in Mingo County to try to implement this program. We are pretty excited about what could possibly be happening in the Gilbert area,” Whitt explained.
Whitt discussed community service projects that the local 4-H groups are involved in. “In Matewan, they keep the state beautified every year through the Energy Express Program. They are getting ready to do a big memorial up there that is going to be very beautiful. We are going to take ownership in that and keep it cleaned up there, and put it in some grills and picnic tables for people to enjoy. We have some grant money that is going to help with that. Our Tug Valley crew is pretty active… They are excited about getting some things started and getting some shooting sports going down there. We have very active team leaders with good parents who are sold on 4-H. We are really excited about that,” Whitt stated.
Whitt provided updated statistics on Mingo County 4-H and discussed the Energy Express Program which was held at local schools during the summer. “We have about 350 members. Our adult volunteer base has grown by ten since last year. We have 35 active volunteers. Our ATV safety program continues to grow. Energy Express was a success this year providing over 15,000 hot meals, 5,000 free books and we were at 94 percent capacity…If there is every a time that we need to feed kids in Mingo County, it is now especially with all the mines out. They get a hot breakfast and hot lunch. It is a wonderful program that provides about 70 jobs to Mingo County every year and helps out college kids,” Whitt said.
More information on 4-H can be found by visiting the WVU Extension Office website at http://4-hyd.ext.wvu.edu/.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)