4-H offers wide education

By Ryn Garguilnski: QCS

Quay County’s Jordan Runyan, 11, said she never imagined her photographs would be nabbing top honors in the New Mexico State Fair.

But then again, she said she never expected to be shooting arrows, either.

“In 4-H I learned a whole lot of different hobbies and stuff I really didn’t know I would like,” Runyan said, citing three examples — sewing, photography and archery.

The opportunities are open to everyone, according to Justin Bollinger, Quay County Extension 4-H agent. In honor of National 4-H Week, which began Sunday and runs through Saturday, Bollinger is encouraging members to re-enroll and new members to join. The 4-H year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 and the official deadline for enrollment is Jan. 31. But there are good reasons not to dally, Bollinger said.

“We’re the only organization that engages youth in every county in America, providing an enormous variety of university-based learning programs and the support of caring adults,” Bollinger said.

Runyan agreed her two years with 4-H and five years as a Clover Bud, the version for the younger set, have been educational, eye-opening and full of new people.

“You make a lot of friends there,” Runyan said, although two of the gals involved she already knows well — they are her sisters.

Elder sibling Carmen Runyan also nabbed honors for her 4-H projects at the New Mexico State Fair. Hers were for a duffel bag she created and a cross stitch she did of Noah’s Ark.

Younger sister Reagan Runyan, who happens to be the subject in Jordan Runyan’s award-winning photos, is still a Clover Bud and thus too young to enter into the state-level competitions. Mom Joyce Runyan said, however, she got a few first places in the Quay County Fair, one for a little cat pillow she made.

In addition to the sewing, shooting and snapping they do, 4-H members have a variety of projects from which to choose. Some raise livestock. Others create leather craft.
Still others engage in rocketry and horticulture.
Bollinger said more than seven million participate in 4-H across the nation, more than 300 in Quay County alone.

“Anyone can join,” Runyan said, adding she would encourage others to as it opens one’s eyes and gives a lesson in perseverance. “(Anyone can succeed) as long as they are willing to keep trying at it,” she said.

What: Become a 4-H member or volunteer leader
How: Contact Justin Bollinger at 461-0562
Or stop by the Quay County Extension office in the basement of the Quay County courthouse.
When: Enrollment deadline is Jan. 31
Learn more: www.4husa.org