Grand Traverse 4-H clubs make a difference in community
4-H is about more than just taking an animal to the fair. Many 4-H clubs incorporate community service into their activities, and some outstanding 4-H clubs of Grand Traverse County are making a difference doing just that.
4-H is about more than just taking an animal to the fair. It is about teaching life lessons and improving the world around us. Many 4-H clubs incorporate community service into their activities, and some outstanding 4-H clubs of Grand Traverse County are making a difference doing just that.
For several years, the members of the Northwest Classy K-9 4-H Club have been visiting the Grand Traverse Pavilion, a senior and intergenerational residential care facility that offers medical support and assisted living care in Traverse City. Club leaders Barbara and John Peters, along with other volunteers, coordinate monthly visits in which the club members experience satisfaction as they take their dogs from room to room to visit with the residents. It’s easy to see the emotions on the faces of those residents who had dogs earlier in their lives. The dogs love being petted and given a doggie treat on occasion. The members are able to demonstrate the tricks they have been working on with their dogs. After 10 visits, they receive a “Visiting Pet” patch for their jackets, shirts or doggie bags.
During the Christmas season, Blue Meadow Riders 4-H Club from Traverse City adopted a family from the Women's Resource Center. The members wanted to give back to the community at a time that is becoming more difficult for so many families in northern Michigan. The club put on the Grand Traverse County Horse Show in July 2008 and used the money earned from that event to buy gifts for their adopted family—a single mother with one daughter and one son.
“We wanted to give a family a Christmas that would bring joy and happiness to all involved,” said Ginny Deisler, volunteer club leader. The best gratification came in a heartfelt thank-you letter the club received from the family, which reinforced that no matter the size or age of a person, anyone can make a difference. The club looks forward to making this an annual activity.
Dusty Trails 4-H Club held a food drive in Buckley during the first three weeks of December. Buckley Pharmacy was kind enough to let the group use their facility to collect the donations. Dusty Trails members collected three large bins of food and donated it to the Wayside Chapel's food pantry.
“It was really nice being able to keep these donations within our own community,” said Chris Barley, volunteer club leader. The 4-H’ers also helped out the Wayside Chapel by painting glass ball ornaments to put in the Christmas baskets they distribute to elderly citizens of Buckley. The 4-H’ers really felt good about helping out and bringing some cheer to the people of their own community.