County agent Donnie Moon was the special guest speaker for Winnfield Rotary Club’s meeting on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Mr. Moon was introduced by Rotarian of the week, Joe Evans, to talk about what is happening with the local 4-H program. Mr. Moon is our local agent for the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, which extends the knowledge derived from the agricultural research done by the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station to the people of Louisiana. In that capacity, Mr. Moon and his staff enhance local youth development through the AgCenter’s 4-H program.
Mr. Moon said the 4 H’s stand for HEAD, HEART, HANDS and HEALTH. The program is open to any child in the parish from fourth grade (9 years old) on up. He told the group that the Winn Parish 4-H program has one of the highest retention rates in the state with 80 to 85% of children participating year after year. He first gave glory for the success of the Winn Parish program to God, and said it is so successful because of the teamwork in the parish from his staff (Karen Shirley, Shannon Chevalier and Lindsey Prince), volunteers who help guide and mentor the children in their chosen activities, local individuals and businesses, and the Winn Parish School Board, which strongly supports the program. It seems that many people just call him out of the blue to donate materials, equipment and time to the program.
Mr. Moon said the last year was very hard with the restrictions on personal contact required due to the COVID-19 outbreak and schools being closed for extended periods. However, our local 4-H never missed a meeting. They managed to create a hybrid system for meeting and communicating, consisting of videos on line for learning, Zoom meetings online and in person events. Google Classroom allowed Mr. Moon to get in the classroom so the children would not miss out.
Mr. Moon praised Winn Parish because everyone in the parish works together for the betterment of the children, their education, skills and training. Local 4-H youth competed in events at the Forest Festival in April, and Winn Parish has over 40 students who will attend LSU’s 4-H University in 2021. They will compete in over 40 events covering a wide range of subject matter, and participate in workshops and educational sessions. It will be a hybrid event with some contests and workshops being hosted in person at different 4-H facilities, observing restrictions on personal contact, and others offered in virtual mode.
Mr. Moon noted that Winn Parish’s 4-H program has a 32-acre facility with archery ranges, shooting ranges, a pavilion and housing, but unfortunately the pavilion and housing was destroyed by the recent storms and work is needed to repair and rebuild. Therefore, 4-H will have only day camp this year. Some Winn Parish students have already qualified for competition at Nationals.
Mr. Moon said the young leaders in Winn Parish’s 4-H program are second to none, and for the first time, the State 4-H president, Anna Little, is from Winn Parish.
Mr. Moon announced the annual 4-H Banquet—helping to raise money for supplies, transportation and equipment for training and competition—will be held at the Winnfield Civic Center on June 5, 2021, and will include a silent auction, bucket and cake raffles, games, and food. Individual tickets are $50, a table sponsorship is $350 (includes a packet of 8 tickets), and individual sponsorships are available. The doors will open about 4:30 p. m. for people to begin viewing silent auction items and purchasing raffle tickets, the meal will begin at 5:00, and activities at 6:00.
The Rotary Club of Winnfield meets every Wednesday at Noon for lunch at Lynda’s Country Kitchen. For more information about the Rotary Club of Winnfield, you may contact President, Jodi Taylor (832) 573-5085. You can also find club information on Facebook at Rotary Club of Winnfield Facebook Page or online at Rotary.org.