With the return of school days comes after-school clubs and activities. Some Cherokee County schools have already held the first 4-H meetings of the year, and the OSU Extension Office has events set, along with a change in leadership.
Carl Wallace has been the 4-H educator for Cherokee County since 2008, and as of Monday, he will become the vocational agriculture educator for Tahlequah Public Schools.
"I have spent the past 20 years working with youth across three counties. I believe in the opportunities 4-H provides to our youth," said Wallace. "The skills learned in the 4-H program are vital to children as they become adults."
Heather Winn, family and consumer science educator, has been named interim county director and will take the lead for the 4-H program, which had over 500 youth enrolled last school year.
"While the Extension service may be short-handed over the coming months, I pray club leaders and volunteers will rally around the Cherokee County staff and make sure the opportunities the kids in this county have become accustomed to remain strong and vibrant for years to come," said Wallace. "Also, thank you to all the parents who have believed in me and provided me an opportunity to work with their children."
Winn said she will have help from Kortni Brannon, the program assistant, and Jody Vick, administrative assistant.
"Jody will make sure we have our ducks in a row," said Winn.
Marta Ashlock leads 4-H at Briggs Public School, and she said Wallace has turned the program around.
"He's done a great job about getting kids excited about 4-H," said Ashlock. "He's gotten community support and money donated. He got donations to make sure the kids who may not have the money can go to camp."
Ashlock said that Briggs 4-H has already had a couple of meetings, and if everyone returns enrollment forms, there may be close to 40 students involved.
"We have a bunch of third-graders who want to be in 4-H. They're excited about it," she said.
That's new this year - that 8-year-olds in third grade can join 4-H.
The enrollment dates changed, as well. According to Winn, the year used to begin on Sept. 1, and this year, it was Aug. 1. Enrollment costs $20, but Cherokee Nation will cover the fee for its youth.
"If a family is in need, we wouldn't deny them. We have some community members who have donated to help those families," said Winn.
While all of the county K-8 schools have 4-H clubs, Tahlequah Public Schools does not have leaders for site specific schools right now.
"4-H in Action is open to any student who doesn't have a club," said Winn.
Those interested may want to enroll soon, because events and deadlines are around the corner.
Promotion posters for the Cherokee County Fair are due in the OSU Extension office by 4:30 p.m. today, Aug. 23.
"They are judged and we put them up to advertise the fair," said Winn. "If they want to do a fair project, they need to come get a fair book and tag them for entry day on Sept. 10."
A back-to-school skate for all county 4-H'ers is Monday. The teen and adult leader meetings are Tuesday, Aug. 27.
"We plan on doing a reception for Carl then, from 5-7 p.m.," said Winn.
To learn more about 4-H and the county fair, or to donate to the program, call the Cherokee County OSU Extension office at 918-456-6163. Visit the office's Facebook page for updates, photos, news, and schedules.