Karen Shirley’s job is 4H Youth Development and she is very passionate about her job. Her enthusiasm showed through as she spoke to the Kiwanis club Tuesday, March 14th. We have 700 students enrolled in 4H in Winn Parish. When they have their meetings Mrs. Shirley greets every student with a hug. There are many opportunities available to 4Hers in Winn Parish. There is the Junior Leadership Conference which is for grades 8 – 12 and is held at Camp Grant Walker. 4H University is held at LSU every year. 4H is all about service and service activities are part of 4H. They want the students to learn service at a young age and continue service into their adult years. The Winn Community Food Pantry is a recipient of 4H service with the smallest school, Atlanta, giving the most and Winnfield Primary school with the youngest students also giving generously. Students receive a newletter each month that tells what is going on in 4H.
4H teaches life skills. They won 25 blue ribbons at the latest competition. After many years of not being invited to the National 4H Conference in Washington, DC they have now had 4 delegates in the last 4 years. Grades 6 – 12 had 2 teams (a middle school team and a high school team) participating in a Food Challenge. The middle school placed 4th. Last year they hosted a STEM camp at Caney Lake that involved students from Winn and Jackson parish. There is also an Ag Awareness at the Winn Parish Fair that involved students from Winn, Grant and Jackson parishes. Achievement Day is held at the Forest Festival and involves participation in forestry and food. There are 75 members in the Junior Leaders Club and they are involved in shooting, livestock and other activities. There are 5 local scholarships given each year that have over 120 applicants from all over the state.
Mrs. Shirley said that in Winn Parish we are fortunate because the 4H and the Ag programs at the schools work well together. This means that the students in 4H and FFA have activities that overlap which helps them in the public speaking and their presentations.
We are very fortunate in Winn Parish to have such an active 4H and leaders that truly care about the children.