LAUGHLIN — The Laughlin/Searchlight 4H Afterschool Program for 2019-2020 has begun and it is big this year. 

Will Douglas of the University of Nevada, Reno,  Cooperative Extension in Laughlin, addressed the program at the recent Laughlin Town Advisory Board meeting. He said that the program is fun and exciting and provides extraordinary learning opportunities in the hours after school. 

4-H Afterschool offers innovative “learn by doing” activities to develop and enhance lifelong skills such as leadership, critical thinking, collaboration, decision making, and civic responsibility. 4-H offers a variety of project areas to participate in and learn from as well as a multitude of new opportunities to explore and develop personal awareness.

4-H Afterschool develops programs to fit the demographics of local communities and counties. The organization offers support to other youth-serving programs in various formats depending on the needs and interests of the youth and adults involved.

The primary purpose is to promote and enhance healthy development in all youth: mentally, physically, socially and emotionally.

Program goals include a positive youth development, engagement in learning, a safe and welcoming environment, positive adult role models, and Positive adult/youth interaction. The 4-H Afterschool Program seeks to help young people become successful in their future goals and personal expectations. 

The “Four H’s” of the program are: head to a bright future; Heart-warming relationships; hands-on opportunities and health lessons for life. These goals help to bring the youth into adulthood with a better footing and handle on what their possibilities can be, and as such are an invaluable source of education and character building for local youth.

As Nevada’s land-grant university, the University of Nevada, Reno, offers programmatic and administrative infrastructure for 4-H youth development across the state. 4-H Afterschool utilizes the University of Nevada’s Cooperative Extension resources and research to develop curricula, plan programs, and provide evaluation. 4-H staff also offers training on the principles and concepts of youth development to professionals of other youth organizations.

The program is now in it’s third year in Laughlin, and Douglas said at the meeting that they initially enrolled 90 students (which

has now risen to 100), and also includes Searchlight as well. That number is up from last year, but down slightly from the first year when they enrolled 120 students to the program. 

4-H overall is a national club for students 8-18 years of age, however they do also include younger students ages 5-7 who are called “Cloverbuds,” ranging from kindergarten to third grade. Douglas reported that the more than 30 Cloverbud third-graders this year is the largest group Laughlin has had.

“We’re forming relationships that will last a lifetime”, Dougla said. “I’m interested in them as individual people”. 

Douglas said that 21 youth participated in the club’s gardening class at the Searchlight Library. 

Locally, Douglas said that all the beds at the Laughlin Community Garden are now full and there is a waiting list to get one. Fall planting has begun, which brings a different and unique series of seasonal plants as the garden shifts to the cooler months.

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