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Cloverbuds: 4-H's youngest members

4-H volunteer Debbie Stevens teaches youth in the sewing workshop at Clover College. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Older 4-Her Tyler Franklin (left), plays games at 4-H Cloverbud Day Camp. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

Think you're too young to be in 4-H?

Think again.

Our youngest 4-Her's, Cloverbuds, aren't quite ready to participate in many of the project areas and/or activities that older children can, but there's still plenty for them to do in 4-H.

Cloverbuds are youth grades K-2 and represent 20% of St. Croix County 4-H youth. The overall purpose of the 4-H Cloverbuds program is to foster the development of life skills that are essential for the cognitive, social, emotional and physical maturation of Kindergarten through second-graders. 4-H's primary goal, when it comes to Cloverbuds, is to promote children's healthy development — mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally. The Cloverbud program provides an excellent opportunity for children to reach his or her higher potential because early life experiences, even subtle ones, affect future development.

4-H Cloverbud programs are activity-focused and not project-focused and built on cooperative learning, rather than competitive activities. The emphasis is on participation, learning, and teamwork. Cloverbuds might learn about nutrition while helping to prepare simple snacks, plant seeds and learn what to do to help them grow. The Cloverbud program also provides opportunities for older youth to mentor and help a younger 4-Her be successful and start laying the groundwork for their future "career" as a 4-H member.

St. Croix County 4-H offers a variety of 4-H Cloverbud activities and events. First and foremost Cloverbuds participate in 4-H club meetings and activities just like any other member. Specialty programming is offered throughout the year, including Clover College. Clover College is a one day workshop where Cloverbuds can learn and explore a variety of topic areas including: arts and crafts, cooking, woodworking, robotics, sewing, gardening, nature activities, and more.

These workshops are taught by dedicated volunteers and community members. This event provides youth an opportunity to gain knowledge, build friendships, work with trusted, caring adults, use social and decision making skills, and develop a positive attitude about learning.

During the summer months, St. Croix County 4-H offers a Cloverbud Day Camp program. This camp is open to all youth (not just 4-H) in grades K-2. High school age 4-H members design the camp and teach the lessons. The day is filled with science, food, arts and crafts, community service, games, laughter and a whole lot of fun.

To find out more about the St. Croix County 4-H Cloverbud program, contact the St. Croix County UW-Extension Office.

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