Routt County 4-H to hold open house Tuesday | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County 4-H to hold open house Tuesday

Teresa Ristow

Members of Routt County 4-H pose in formal attire outside the 4-H State Conference in Ft. Collins in 2014. The organization is holding an open house Tuesday to attract new members for 2015.

— Routt County 4-H is seeking new members to join its various clubs in 2015, and the organization is holding an open house to invite the community to learn more.

The Routt County 4-H Open House will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave.

The group already has more than 250 participants enrolled for 2015 and about 60 adult volunteers, but it is seeking more participation for clubs focusing on activities like animal rearing, shooting, sewing and rocket building.

Youths meet regularly to work on projects and perform community service, developing leadership skills and learning to work together in the process.

"It is a huge organization in Routt County," said Tami Thurston, 4-H and youth development extension agent for Colorado State University's Routt County Extension Office.

Thurston said her two children have participated in the organization since they were old enough and said that the benefits of participating in 4-H have been studied and proven.

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"It's the largest youth organization in the United States," Thurston said. "It's been a big part of our lives."

Thurston said that results from a Tufts University national study found that 4-H youths are twice as likely to plan to go to college, more likely to be involved in and contribute to their communities and more likely to exercise and be physically active.

Most 4-H members are between 8 and 18 years old, though there is a program for children as young as 6.

Thurston said club meetings are run by members using an official parliamentary system where they call meetings to order and make decisions by formal votes.

"It's very impressive," Thurston said.

While many people associate 4-H strictly with raising livestock, Thurston said there were several other focuses the organization has.

Last year, about 85 students participated in shooting sports, including archery, shotgun and rifle activities, and there also is a strong veterinary science program.

"It's really hands on," Thurston said.

For more information about the programs, call the CSU Routt County Extension at 970-879-0825 or attend Tuesday's open house.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow