Clover Bud program open for 5- to 8-year-olds

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State putting more emphasis on program

By Misty Wilmoth

Traditionally, the 4-H program has been for youth ages 9 to 18.

Kentucky 4-H is taking steps to help the state’s younger children by using the 4-H Clover Bud program to help shape them become responsible, caring, hard-working individuals.

4-H Clover Buds are youth, ages 5-8, who participate in 4-H. Age eligibility is established as of Jan. 1 of the current 4-H programming year. The 4-H Clover Buds program is different than the traditional 4-H program in that 4-H Clover Buds learning is activity centered. Their instruction is leader-directed and the children participate instead of compete with their peers and are recognized for participation alone.

In LaRue County, monthly after school meetings are held for cloverbuds. The October meeting will be from 3:15-4:30 p.m. Oct. 19, at the Extension Service office. The meeting will include snacks.

The activity for October will be pumpkin decorating. Each child will decorate a pumpkin to take home. Special thanks goes to Hinton’s Orchard and Farm Market for donating the pumpkins.

Older 4-Hers, on the other hand, learn through project completion, are more in charge of their learning, strive for achievement through competition and are recognized for achievement of their individual goals.

The program also differs from the traditional 4-H program in that it is optional and is not offered everywhere.

There are a great amount of fun and educational opportunities for 4-H Clover Buds. The curriculum is designed to be an informal education enrichment program whose primary goals are to develop the confidence, social skills, decision-making abilities, subject matter knowledge and physical skills of these youth. As youth begin their 4-H Clover Bud experience, they have the opportunity to develop life-long skills.  Skills such as: developing a positive attitude toward learning, developing relationships with adults or older youth who serve as mentors, as well as exploring family and community relationships.

The Clover Bud curriculum is a series of lessons that address citizenship, expressive arts, the environment, personal development and plant and animal science, to name a few. Examples of activities include planting a seed or making a terrarium, learning new educational games, making crafts, learning about the weather, learning about fitness and healthy foods and doing a community service project.  

4-H Clover Buds are eligible to participate in other 4-H programs and events offered by LaRue County 4-H with the exception of shooting sports and showing large animals. Other activities that may interest the 4-H Clover Bud include cooking, sewing, entomology, geology, photography, forestry and woodworking. Volunteers guide much of the Clover Buds program and different experiences are offered as adult volunteers become available.

There are several events throughout the year in, which a 4-H Clover Bud can participate. Examples of events include speech competitions, poetry contests, demonstration contests, and variety shows. 4-H Clover Buds can participate but not compete in these competitions. Although they may not receive ribbons and medals, they will receive participation ribbons.

By providing children with guidance and motivation, the 4-H Clover Bud program instills a sense of responsibility and leadership necessary for our children to move upward into the 21st century.

If you would like more information or would like to enroll your child in the 4-H Clover Bud program, please feel free to contact the LaRue County Extension Service office by phone at 358-3401. The office is at 807 Old Elizabethtown Road in Hodgenville. 4-H enrollment forms also are available online at wwwces.ca.uky.edu /larue/enrollment