For the past decade, Crook County 4-H has relied on its annual dinner and auction to finance its programs

For the past decade, Crook County 4-H has relied on its annual Dinner and Auction fundraiser to finance the variety of programs it offers.

Next week, they are once again inviting community members to join them as they provide a pulled-pork sandwich meal, and auction off a variety of items to benefit the approximately 400-member local club.

"You will see a lot of different club fundraisers throughout the year," said 4-H Extension Agent Jeremy Green, "but this serves as the main 4-H fundraiser for the program as a whole for the entire year."

Green acknowledged that many people likely associate 4-H with livestock exhibits at the fair. While that comprises part of the program, he stresses that the club offers a lot more and the fundraiser consequently helps pay for many other services.

"The point of the program is to teach youth life skills - skills they are going to obtain now that will allow them to be successful adults," Green said. "4-H utilizes those (fair) projects to teach those life skills. The projects serve as a vehicle to the life skills. Fair just happens to be a culminating event for a lot of those project areas, but we have events starting in November and do them all the way through September."

Green stressed that one of the primary life skills that 4-H focuses on is public speaking.

"Time and time again, when youth leave the program and get into college and into jobs - into real life - we hear public speaking was probably one of the biggest assets they gained by being in the program."

He added that the club is taught how to conduct record bookkeeping for the various projects they participate in throughout the year. In doing so, they hope to make the students more prepared for the workforce and more marketable as they search for employment.

The money raised by the dinner and auction will help the club pay for a variety of scholarships, not only for college, but educational events, camps, conferences, and leadership retreats.

"We use funds to buy educational materials, supplies, curriculum, and building maintenance for the Clover (4-H) building."

4-H is inviting anybody and everybody to join them for dinner, Green said.

"Not only people who want to support 4-H, but people who want to come and interact in a fun environment and get fed a great meal," he added.

Patrons can expect to encounter an event run almost exclusively by the youth members of Crook County 4-H.

"You will see kids at the door taking money and tickets," Green said. "Then, you will see kids working the (auction) baskets. You will see kids in the back serving the food, cleaning up after the event."

Past events have proven successful for the local program. They have typically drawn between 200 and 300 visitors and have raised anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000. This year, they hope to improve on those numbers and have moved the event from its historic Clover Building location to Carey Foster Hall to accommodate a larger crowd.

"The money raised from this event will touch the 400-plus kids in 4-H in Crook County," Green said. "It is big deal for the program."

The Crook County 4-H Dinner and Auction fundraiser will be held at Carey Foster Hall on Thursday, April 10. The dinner starts at 5:30 p.m., with the auction to follow at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $6 for adults and $4 for children.

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