Since the early 1900’s 4-H Record Books have been judged annually. Initially, competitions have focused on project skill development, primarily in agricultural areas. Now, 4-H Record Book competitions evaluate members’ leadership, development, citizenship activities and personal growth as well as project proficiency. 4-H members also are provided an incentive such as cash prizes or educational awards trips if their record book is selected first place. Recently, NSU Middle Lab School 4-H member, Katie Anderson, won the state 4-H 6th Grade Achievement Award for her record book and a cash prize of $50.
If there is one thing that is evident about Natchitoches parish 4-H, it is that there is something for everyone. With 445 members enrolled last year, and 15 in school clubs Fontenot was busy managing over 140 adult volunteers that help implement programs and make the it successful. “Volunteers are the key to our youth participating. I’m only one person, and definitely cannot do it all. I’m basically the program manager, and volunteers teach youth, attend camps, and help youth with their project work,” Fontenot states.
4-H enrollment for the upcoming school year will open mid-August. Youth are encouraged to join through their school club, however an option to join as a member-at-large directly through the 4-H office is available. Natchitoches parish dues are set at $7.00 for the 2015-2016 school year, and school clubs usually tack on an additional fee so their club can have funds to conduct their own projects. Once a youth joins 4-H they have the opportunity to participate in any 4-H activity that is offered statewide. For more information about the Natchitoches parish 4-H program contact Gwen Fontenot, 4-H Associate Extension Agent, at the local LSU AgCenter Extension Office 624 Second Street Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457