Jared Tucker: Freedom New Mexico Samantha James, 12, works with one of her show sheep Friday at the New Mexico Christian Children’s Home in Portales. James, a Roosevelt County 4-H member, said the sheep’s head is held in this manner so it will push at her, flexing its muscles for the judges. James and other members will be showing animals at this year’s Eastern New Mexico State Fair in Roswell.
October is here, which means Curry and Roosevelt County 4-H Clubs are looking for new members to learn leadership, agriculture and life skills through an array of 200 projects.
Both county 4-H programs are seeking new members through Jan. 1, when current members will be required to re-register.
Melanie Gutierrez, the Roosevelt County 4-H extension agent, said the objective of 4-H is to teach children and teens responsibility, self-esteem and self-motivation so they can better themselves as people.
“We do that through 4-H club meetings, projects, fairs, public speaking and things like that,” Gutierrez said.
Roosevelt County 4-H currently has around 170 active members, and Curry County has 340, according to county 4-H coordinators.
Curry County Extension Home Economist Glenda Belcher, who helps with the program, said livestock, shooting and home economics are the county’s most popular projects.
“It’s just a way that the family do these different projects together, and it just gives them a way to spend more time together,” Belcher said, adding that the organization depends on adults who donate their time to help out and be involved.
Gutierrez said the 4-H program was founded in 1902, and New Mexico 4-H started in 1912 when New Mexico became a state.
Curry County 4-H member Kylynn Thomas, 16, has sewed, shown sheep and participated in meat, wool, foods and livestock contests since she’s been a member.
“You just learn different life skills, and it’s a lot of fun,” she said. “You meet a lot of people.”
Thomas said her personality has grown stronger through 4-H, and the program has taught her to cook, sew, introduce herself to people and speak in public. Through 4-H, Thomas said, she’s gained responsibility by memorizing material, studying for contests and caring for sheep every day.
Twelve-year-old New Mexico Christian Children’s Home resident and Roosevelt County 4-H member Samantha James said she got involved in 4-H because she loves animals.
“I like how we get to raise these animals, learning the type of feed to give them and how to prepare them to show,” James said.