Jefferson County 4-H officers gathered last Tuesday evening at Wildwood Middle School to take part in the annual Officer Training School. The school, hosted by the WVU Extension Office which oversees the county's 4-H program, is held each fall as new officers begin their terms.
According to Extension Agent Shay McNeil, there are currently 32 clubs that meet throughout the county. Most are community clubs, she said, however, there are several special interest clubs to include an outdoor adventure education club, several horse clubs, a dog club, a livestock judging club and a special needs therapeutic horse riding club.
"As of the end of September we had 462 registered members," McNeil said.
Nearly a hundred of those members were on hand to learn their roles as club leaders during the training sessions. The officers were welcomed as a group then were dismissed to break-out sessions focusing on their specific roles. Presidents, vice presidents, secretaries and treasurers were among those who learned their specific duties for their clubs. Also taught their roles were song leaders, reporters, health officers, game leaders and others who make up the leadership team of any given club.
Adding to the atmosphere and training of the school, McNeil chose to include a new portion of training as the group, when they returned together following the breakouts, held a mock meeting so that those new to their offices could see how a typical 4-H meeting should run. Experienced leaders posed as the leading officers and called upon members of the incoming officer classes to report on what they had learned.
"I am very pleased with how last night went," McNeil said. "We had a packed house! I have gotten a lot of positive feedback about the mock meeting. It was the first time we had incorporated a mock meeting into OTS and overall I think it went very well. The kids did a great job, and it got everyone involved."
McNeil went on to say, "there were lots of opportunities for youth to practice public speaking by giving a report, leading a song or an activity."