Moab Happenings Archive
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Grand County
Extension office


used to be about agriculture –
always was and still is about youth

by Carrie Switzer

In a small office tucked at the end of a hallway in the Utah State University Extension on 200 South, Marian Holyoak speaks a mile a minute about Grand County 4-H classes and projects and volunteers, while shuffling and stapling several piles of paper into an attractive display. She breaks momentarily to discuss the recent drop in middle school student participation and to brainstorm how to overcome it with someone on the telephone, pointing me in the direction of a photo album and brochure I can peruse in preparation for our interview for this month’s Non-Profit Happenings article.

To call this multi-tasking would be an understatement.

This summer will be Marian’s fifth overseeing some 230 Grand County youth between the ages of 8 and 18 who enjoy the camaraderie and tutelage of Grand County’s 4-H Club. Activities planned for this summer range from cooking and cake decorating to drama, gymnastics, and – of course – horses.

While 4-H is often associated with agricultural projects, its emphasis is on youth leadership, organization, decision-making and applied skills of all kinds. At this time in Grand County there is no agricultural club, and other projects are now showcased in a Children’s Fair held in the fall at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center. This year’s fair will be held on September 11, 2004.

A Teen Counsel helps develop and run the classes offered to youth, including an after school program at Helen M. Knight Elementary School. Its members go to teen leadership training courses and come back to offer service to local youth. They take on Kindergarten projects, a food drive and hospital service. One of the classes over the past year knitted wool hats to send to the Ukraine.

Past activities also include an entrepreneur project, wherein members opened their own small businesses; a games club; a chess club; “Make One Take One” Christmas gift project; and work with the Prevent Child Abuse program in Moab.

The Utah State University Extension provides the administrative support, and Marian Holyoak is the only paid staff. Adult and youth leaders are all volunteer assistants.

The four leaf clover universally recognized as the Four-H logo represents its pledge: My Head, to clearer thinking; My heart to greater loyalty; My Hands to larger service; My Health to better living.

There is no charge to join 4-H, although there may be some material costs for some of the classes. Classes being planned for this summer include babysitting, beading, computers, cooking, counted cross stitch, crafts, creative writing, crocheting, drama/theater, gymnastics, hat making club, hiking, horse – knowledge of and riding, mosaic tile, reading for fun, running, service, sewing, scrapbooking and teen counsel.

To sign up for the 4-H Summer Recreational Club contact the Grand County Extension office at 259-7558. A sign=up sheet is available at the office, or will be amiled to you. After registration forms are gathered, applicants will be notified of days and times classes will be held. Each runs from June 7 to the last week in July.Exemplifying what 4-H tries to help youth accomplish is this year’s Grand County 4-H-er of the year, Stacey Sjoblom. Marion says Stacey started taking a crochet class and has “just blossomed.”

“She quilts, she’s a teen leader and everything she does turns out beautifully,” she said.

Now, Stacey will be helping others to do the same.

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