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Written by Kindra Plumb   

4-H through the eyes of a Cloverbud

One of the greatest joys of a 4-H agent’s job is having the opportunity to work with youth of all ages.

Each age group is unique, and each has different needs and abilities. All ages are fun to work with, but there is one group in particular that keeps any agent or 4-H volunteer leader hopping: the Cloverbud 4-H members, all between the ages of 5-7 years old!

What is a Cloverbud member and how are they different than regular 4-H members? According to Colorado 4-H guidelines, Cloverbud members must be between the ages of 5-7 by Dec. 31 of the current year.

The Cloverbud program helps these young children enhance their development through fun, hands-on activities, with the purpose of the program being to foster the development of life skills that are essential for the cognitive, social, emotional and physical maturation of preschoolers through second-graders by providing unique educational opportunities.

Children in these grades are a distinct audience for 4-H, with unique learning characteristics and developmental needs that are different from older children and youth served through 4-H membership. As a result, the Cloverbud program is designed with specific, educational objectives and program policies focused on the 5-7-year-old child.

Regular 4-H participation and Cloverbud participation have fundamental differences. Cloverbud programs are activity focused and not project focused and built on cooperative learning, rather than competitive activities.

The primary difference between a 4-H Cloverbud activity and a 4-H project is that the Cloverbud member engages in varied activities, which focus on developing a specific skill or concept utilized in completing the activity rather than focusing on a long-term planned course of study in a specific project area.

Cloverbud members do, however, have the opportunity of exhibiting or showcasing crafts or activities completed while at a Cloverbud program. Cloverbuds typically receive participation ribbons for displaying their craft or activity at the Phillips County Fair.

Phillips County 4-H Cloverbud members have the opportunity to participate in Cloverbud activities through their local 4-H club, and they also participate in county-wide Cloverbud activities, or “Cloverbud Mini Camps.”

During these scheduled programs or activities, Cloverbuds learn some basics of 4-H, like what the four H’s stand for in 4-H, or they practice saying the 4-H pledge. The first Phillips County Cloverbud Mini Camp is taking place Thursday, May 31 and will focus on farm animals. A second mini camp will be held in July before the Phillips County Fair.

While fair is a few months down the road, please remember to take a moment to view the Cloverbud display, set up with the general 4-H projects. If you see any of the Cloverbud members, ask them about their Cloverbud activities. These youngsters are very proud 4-H members!

For more information about Phillips County 4-H, please contact the Phillips County Extension Office at 854-3616. Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.

Holyoke Enterprise May 31, 2012