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4-H club brings opportunities

March 3, 2015

By J. Blake Ragsdale

Boys and girls attending the Gregg Center huddle around a small cardboard maze. All eyes are fixed on Lucky, the center’s guinea pig, as he darts around the bends and tunnels.

Lucky is more than a pet for Weekday Education’s after-school program in Thomasville; he is a central part of Gregg Center’s new 4-H Club.

“The center was part of 4-H years ago,” says Weekday Education director Linda Russo. “We brought it back as we provide quality opportunities for our afternoon children.”

The center’s 4-H theme for this year is “Pet Pals” – which makes Lucky the perfect guinea pig, both figuratively and literally. The students have studied how he behaves in his maze. They have discovered Lucky likes sweet peppers, but will not eat mandarin oranges.

“They document everything,” Russo explains. “It also is teaching them responsibility. They help feed Lucky and clean his cage.”

Since the club returned last November, the children have been introduced to a therapy dog, have been visited by an animal control officer from the Thomasville Police Department, and have taken a field trip to the Guildford County Animal Shelter. The club raised funds to donate a 50-pound bag of dog food to the shelter.

The Gregg Center’s 4-H chapter is known as “The Power of Youth,” a name voted on by the children. The center has an official 4-H charter through Davidson County Cooperative Extension which provides resources to the club as well as opportunities for children to be involved in county-wide events.

Reintroducing 4-H at the Gregg Center is a part of Weekday Education’s vision to provide community children with worthwhile opportunities and learning experiences. Looking towards summer, Russo is already making plans involving gardening, quilting and woodworking.

“We want Weekday Education to be more than simply a place for children to go afterschool.” Russo says. “We want it to be an enrichment program. 4-H provides an opportunity to teach children life skills they may not learn elsewhere.”

Weekday Education centers are located at the Mills Home campus in Thomasville. Learn more about its programs for children from six-weeks-old to fifth grade at www.bchfamily.org/weekdayeducation.