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Almost 500 students involved in 4-H By Matt Peterson

Mower County has a strong 4-H following, and that will be evident this week, during National 4-H Week, Oct. 2 through Oct. 8. Students across the nation will begin promoting 4-H on Sunday and throughout the week, as they will be recruiting new students, holding fun activities and volunteering in their communities. Furthermore, October is also 4-H month. Mower County 4-H Coordinator Melissa Koch said local 4-H groups have been gathering promotional materials to distribute throughout

the community. According to a 4-H press release, recent findings from Tufts University’s 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicate that young people in 4-H are three times more likely to contribute to their communities than youth not participating in 4-H. Notably, the Tufts research discovered structured learning, encouragement and adult mentoring that 4-H'ers receive play a vital role in helping them actively contribute to their communities. In Mower, a large number of 4H’ers have been volunteering for many years. “Mower County has been staying

steady,” Koch said, and added its likely because of the many generations of 4-H’ers that have passed through the system, along with the family ties. Furthermore, she said some new students without previous 4-H ties have signed up, as well. Now, roughly 470 students from Kindergarten to 12th grade are involved in Mower County 4-H projects, and they’ll be exploring the growing activity of geocaching this week. Students will use GPS devices to hunt for 4-H tokens. Also during National 4-H Week, hundreds of thousands of youth from all around the nation will complete a single, innovative experiment

on 4-H National Youth Science Day. Locasl 4-H’ers will complete their projects later this year; however, the nationwide project itself is very fitting for this region. The 2011 National Science Experiment, Wired for Wind, will introduce young people to the possibilities of using wind as a clean, widely available, and lowcost source of renewable energy. Among all those activities, the Mower County 4-H chapter will hold its annual banquet in Adams on Nov. 14 for all the students’ and volunteers’ work during the year. More info about this week’s events will be posted on the Mower County 4-H Facebook page.

Small idea produces big gains for African village By Sarah Stultz

EMMONS — It started out as a simple idea. Area resident Deb Yost of Emmons Lutheran Church came across a pattern she could use to teach kids how to sew a simple dress. Her daughter in Iowa Falls, Iowa, is a 4-H leader, and she had acquired the pattern to use to teach her 4-H students. “I decided I wanted to do one,” Yost said. Around the same time, Kim Katuta, daughter of Dale and Mary Mehus of Northwood, Iowa, was in town on a sabbatical from a small school in South Africa, called Dayspring Children’s Village, which is about 1 1/2 hours away from Johannesburg. Katuta talked to the church congregation about the school and some of the needs it faced. That’s when Yost’s idea snowballed. Yost said she asked Katuta if she’d be interested in taking a bunch of the dresses back to the school. Katuta’s husband, Elijah, who also works at the school, could likewise teach the children there how to sew to make more dresses to sell and make money for the school. “It’s the whole idea of not just feeding the children, but teaching the children how to feed themselves,” Yost said. Yost decided to have the eight to 10 afterschool children in the Emmons Youth Group participate, and then she set out to begin gathering sewing supplies. She also recognized the cost of sending something in the mail to South Africa and set out to try to raise some money to make the project possible.

She said the donations came in droves. Several women close to retirement age donated boxes of old pillow cases, embellishments, ribbons and buttons. A-Best Sew & Vac donated 100 sewing needles and two sewing machines, her Swimnastics group donated $170, the Women’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Agency at her church donated $200 and the church donated more itself. Julie Meyer, who oversees the Emmons Lutheran Youth Group, said when she heard about the project she was thrilled about it. She thought it would be a perfect fit for the youth in the program. She is hoping the group can make 80 dresses. “To see these kids doing this is really exciting,” Yost said. “It’s fun to watch the creativity.” The Emmons youth continued sewing projects Tuesday at the church. When they’re completed with them, they plan to pin a picture of themselves and a note to send with them. “I like to sew, and it’s fun when I get to sew for other people,” said Makenzie Sletten, 12. “It’s nice to give back because they don’t have a lot of money in Africa.” Sletten said she was also excited about sending a little information about herself and a photo so the recipient can learn more about her. Maybe they will end up communicating via letter or email. “I like helping people, and this is actually helping people,” added Sydney Dahl, 12. Many of the children are just learning to sew themselves. Yost said they plan to send some of the supplies and dresses in the next short while, and then a mission group going to Africa next year may take the sewing machines.

Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Top: With the help of their youth leaders, eight to 10 youth who attend the Emmons Lutheran Youth Group after school are learning to sew dresses to send to a school in Africa. Bottom: Joey Honsey, right, helps Kyli Hanson sew a dress to send overseas to Africa during an Emmon's Lutheran Youth Group activity Wednesday.

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4-H Month  

A special page by the Austin Daily Herald on 4-H Month

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