Five 4-H teen leaders and their teams have pledged their hands to larger service in the coming months as they implement the service projects outlined in their winning mini-grant applications. The West Virginia 4-H All Stars have committed $1,000 to support the five mini-grants that will enhance communities in Gilmer, McDowell, Putnam, Wood, and Wyoming counties.
Daisy Snyder and the Gilmer County 4-H teen leaders plan to create a sensory garden for the Glenville Genesis Home's residents. Research has shown that sensory gardens help elevate mood, improve appetite, and improve sleep. The teens plan to build flower beds, paint decorations, build birdhouses and feeders, and plant various plants and flowers. Snyder hopes to include additional 4-H members, volunteers, and 4-H All Stars in this effort.
Sidney-Piper Lester, along with 4-H teen leaders and volunteers from McDowell and Wyoming counties, is taking action to create a safe place for a campfire circle at Panther State Forest. Unfortunately, the campfire location has to be moved from its current location. The 4-H program uses the campfire circle to hold its council circle programs during summer camp. Additionally, renters at Panther State Forest use the campfire circle during reunions and other group events. The campfire circle provides a safe place for a fire and seating to gather.
Nicholas McWhorter, a Putnam County 4-H member, aims to create a safe and inclusive fishing experience at Camp Appalachia by constructing a floating dock with an ADA-compliant ramp. Seeing a need, McWhorter has assembled a team to complete this project that includes his parents, the facility director, and the Scoutmaster of his Scouts BSA troop. Camp Appalachia enriches the lives of vulnerable youth through camp programs yearlong. On average, the camp serves over 800 youth each year. This floating dock will provide everyone with a safe and enjoyable way to fish and be on the lake.
A Wood County 4-H member, Cameron Shore, plans to build a Gaga pit at the Wood County 4-H Campgrounds. This facility is used for various community activities, such as football practice, band drills, car shows, and flea markets. Gaga ball is a group game similar to dodgeball. Players bat a ball with the palm of their hand to bounce off the ground of the Gaga pit's walls, aiming to eliminate other players. The Gaga pit will enhance the recreation options at the facility for all of the community renters. Shore plans to construct the pit with the help of the Wood County Camp Trustees, 4-H teen leaders, Scouts BSA Troop 86, and Parkersburg South High School WV-781 AFJROTC unit.
Ty Eller and the Wyoming County 4-H teen leaders strive to create a beautiful enhancement for the Town of Pineville and the county seat by cleaning up a small garden plot near the main road coming into town. Through planning with the Town of Pineville City Hall, the team will plant succulents and use environmentally safe spray paint on the current rocks to create an outline of the state with a clover. Wyoming County has become an outdoor adventures attraction for ATV riders and rafters. Eller hopes that this project will help beautify the area and create pride for the community.
The five teams have several months to complete their service projects. Each team will have a poster presentation of their project on display at the State Fair of West Virginia, August 11 - 20, 2022, in the Cecil H. Underwood Youth Center. This is the third year for the West Virginia 4-H My Hands To Larger Service Mini-grants. To learn more about the previous mini-grant projects, visit the Community Service 4-H resources page.