County Fair to culminate busy year for 4-H club

SUBMITTED PHOTO Cooking at the Ronald McDonald House are Adyson Brogan, left, and Hailee Warren.

SUBMITTED PHOTO Standing by one of the little libraries of the Bloomfield Cloverleaves are, in front from left, Esme Mundfrom, Lydia Broadwater and Emma Broadwater. In the second row are Noah Mundfrom, Zach Reiland, Anika Reiland and Noah Broadwater. In back is Jacob Welch.

SUBMITTED PHOTO Handing out flags at Loyalty Days are, in front from left, Lydia Broadwater, Emma Broadwater, Esme Mundfrom and Hailey Runck. In back are Noah Mundfrom, Zach Reiland, Emily Miner, Anika Reiland, Lexie Hamersma and Macy Runck.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Bloomfield Cloverleaves 4-H members are busy preparing for the Fillmore County Fair in a few weeks, but they have kept busy with a variety of Community Pride service projects since the club reconvened at the beginning of October, according to 4-Her Emma Broadwater.

“We did random acts of kindness at the Spring Valley library.  Club members hid cards at the library for library patrons to find and present at the library desk.  They got to choose a gift from a selection of handmade items that each member contributed that had to do with different 4-H project areas,” Broadwater said about a project done during National 4-H Week in October. 

Another project was planning, prepping and serving a meal to families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester. Others include: planning and hosting a story hour for young children at the Spring Valley library; sponsoring a “cookie of the month” donation to the Spring Valley Area Community Foundation auction during its annual banquet; handing out American flags to spectators before the Loyalty Days parade in Spring Valley in May on behalf of the VFW Auxiliary; participating in the Food for Kidz food packing Kiwanis event in Stewartville in April; refreshing the club’s two little libraries located in city parks – Grant Street Park and North Park in Spring Valley — that were constructed by members two years ago with some repairs and the addition of new books; making and delivering Valentines to the Ostrander Care Center; and sponsoring five children for Christmas in Fillmore County in which members shopped for gifts.

“Our club tries to plan community service projects that members of all ages can participate in.  Our members range in age from grade one to 12, so finding projects that include everyone can be challenging,” Broadwater said. “We like to help our local community, as well as have one or two projects a year that serve a larger range – the Ronald McDonald House meal and Food for Kidz are examples of this.  While many of our projects are planned in advance, at the beginning of the year, we are always open to opportunities that come up.” 

She noted that some projects help people with physical needs, such as providing food for families through Food for Kidz and the Ronald McDonald House meal, and helping families provide Christmas gifts for their children.  A couple projects help promote early literacy and learning, such as the library story hour and the little libraries at city parks. 

“Many of our projects help spread joy to people – random acts of kindness at the library, bringing Valentines to the nursing home, visiting with families staying at the Ronald McDonald House with sick children undergoing treatment,” she added.

Nearly all18 members of Bloomfield Cloverleaves participated in Community Pride in some way during the last year.  The club officers meet at the beginning of the 4-H year in October when everyone submits ideas to discuss and choose projects for the year. 

Usually, at least one additional project comes up, noted Broadwater, and this year, it was handing out the flags at the Loyalty Days parade “so we are flexible with our plans.”

Many members have very busy schedules outside of 4-H, being involved in sports, school activities, other community organizations and more. Time management is a key factor in being able to do all the things the club accomplished. 

“The 4-H program emphasizes the importance of community service and teaching youth to be involved in making their community better.  The projects our club completed this year helped other people, and also taught us some important skills such as planning an event, budgeting, cooking, and communicating with others,” she said. “Members need to communicate with each other to plan and prepare for the various projects, and we can see how working together pays off when we successfully complete a project that helps other people.  It’s fun to work together to accomplish something, and it’s fun to bring joy to other people.”      

There are many rewards 4-Hers receive through their service. 

“It’s seeing how it all comes together – especially when working on a big project such as the meal for the Ronald McDonald House – it’s exciting,” Broadwater said. “We broke up the jobs and had small groups of members working on tasks such as making centerpieces, planning the meal, shopping for ingredients, cooking the meal, serving the meal, and cleaning up.  Seeing how everything comes together is fulfilling.”

Families interested in learning more about the 4-H club or joining 4-H may contact leaders Sally Broadwater at 507-421-2944 or Sarah Reiland at 507-438-4022.