American Legion Post Commander Bob Hayes presents certificates to Garrett Murchison and Caitlin Mahanna.

Courtsey photo

American Legion Post Commander Bob Hayes presents certificates to Garrett Murchison and Caitlin Mahanna.

Helping out Hayden 4-H

Program to let children house livestock at fairgrounds

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If you go

What: Town Kid Project organizational meeting

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall

Call: Jay Whaley at 879-0825 for more information

— Hayden youths seeking a spot to raise 4-H livestock will be able to house them at the Routt County Fairgrounds under a new pilot program.

The Town Kid Project will allow participants to keep goats, lambs and pigs on the grounds in exchange for eight hours of service and a $25 deposit, county 4-H agent Jay Whaley said.

"A lot of the other kids who are raising these animals keep them at their house or grandma and grandpa's," Whaley said. "We recognize that some kids don't just have the facilities."

The program is for only Hayden youths now, he said, but might be expanded to other areas if it's successful. Participants must be in 4-H and must attend a class Whaley teaches on meat quality assurance and animal ethics.

About 220 to 250 youths across Routt County raise livestock for 4-H each year, Whaley said. The Town Kid Project includes just goats, lambs and pigs, he said.

No one has signed up yet. An organizational meeting is set for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall.

"If we get five or six kids, that's great," Whaley said. "That's five or six kids who didn't have the opportunity before."

The children buy animals in the spring and raise them, feeding them and medicating them when necessary and keeping records on their progress. They show and sell the animals at the county fair in August. Whaley said he hopes to find a bank willing to give the 4-H kids low-interest loans so they can buy the livestock.

In addition to teaching animal husbandry and responsibility, he said, the program teaches children record-keeping and financial skills.

"4-H prides itself on its hands-on-type learning, and that's exactly what this is," Whaley said. "There's nothing better than learning by doing."

The program also has monetary perks: Participants can earn money on the sale of their animals.

Whaley said he also is seeking adult volunteers to help.

Laudatory oratory

Two Hayden High School students participated in an oratorical contest sponsored by the American Legion this month. The Hayden legion post chose the pair, senior Garrett Murchison and junior Caitlin Mahanna.

The students gave eight-minute prepared speeches on a topic related to the Constitution, in the Colorado American Legion Oratorical Contest in Denver, and then gave five-minute improvised speeches.

English teacher Amy Hanson said she helped the students when they needed it.

"They're both phenomenal students, great leaders," she said. "They both exhibit a lot of strong character qualities, the kinds of qualities we want to have in our youth who are going out to run this country and make decisions."

Garrett and Caitlin presented the speeches to the Hayden American Legion post this week, said Ron Nereson, chairman of the post's contest committee.

"The legionnaires in Hayden are extremely proud of their abilities to get up and speak," he said. The two are eligible for two hours of college credit for participating.

American Legion members will be at Hayden High School on Tuesday afternoon to seek applicants for the Boys State program, which teaches participants about government. The post will send two junior boys to Colorado State University-Pueblo for the weeklong program in June, Nereson said.

"If we can support Americanism in our youth, that's the most we can do right now," he said.

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