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4-H workshops offer fun for kids

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Although they did not grow up together, Patt O'Neil and Gale Cecil both fondly remember how involved they were with the 4-H club at separate times in their lives. O'Neil grew up with a sister who was actively involved in 4-H, and Cecil became involved with the organization when her children were young. Today, they both hold positions within the 4-H community: O'Neil serves as the 4-H Program Assistant of Thurston County, and Cecil serves as the Superintendent for Clothing at the 4-H Department of the Thurston County Fair.

"I do a lot of mentoring as well," Cecil said. "There are a lot of volunteers that we have that were 4-H members as children."

4-H encourages children and young adults to learn skills that they can take back to their families as well as to the community. Some of those skills include leadership skills learned outside of the classroom. Across the country, members of 4-H take on the country's top issues, from climate change to sustainable energy.  4-H offers children and young adults a way to be involved in the community while also learning skills that keep the nation's ability to compete in sciences up to par.

4-H offers many different programs. One program, the Create and Take series, is an art-based program offered once a month for members and non-members. Anything that children make at a Create and Take session they are able to take home with them that evening. Projects are also eligible to be entered at the Thurston County Fair.

Session I Create and Take Workshops began in October with children creating aprons. 4-H hosted a second workshop on Nov. 27, during which children created no-sew ornaments to take home for the holidays.

There are two more workshops remaining in this series. On Dec. 15, 4-H will host a "Burrito Pillow Case" workshop.  This workshop requires an $8 supply fee. And in January, children will create Cancer Caps for charity.

"They will be creating Cancer Caps for the ‘create' part of the workshop," O'Neil said. "The ‘take' part will be going home knowing that they helped someone who is battling cancer." The Cancer Cap workshop is free.

While this Create and Take series ends in January, it is important to know that 4-H offers different projects throughout the year, including a weeklong day camp in July. In addition to crafting, 4-H also offers community service-based clubs. 4-H members regularly visit with Alzheimer patients and bring small animals to visit the elderly in nursing homes. There are projects available in science, technology, engineering and mathematics as well.

"There is a big push nationally for 4-H to include [these] in all of our projects," O'Neil said. "If you're sewing, there is math involved, just like when you're cooking, chemistry is involved."

Military families are encouraged to come and participate in the workshops.

"We want the military community to know that we are here to help support them in any way that we can," O'Neil said.

Children in Kindergarten through 12th grade are encouraged to become a member of 4-H. With such a wide variety of projects available, there is bound to be something for everyone.

Those interested in participating in the Create and Take Workshops are asked to register since space is limited. Participants do not have to be a member of 4-H to take part in the series. For more information, contact the 4-H office at (360) 867-2157 or

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