4-H is alive and well in west central Wisconsin, according to Holly Noah, a long time Reseburg Ramblers leader, farmer and Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at Thorp High School.
She says participation in Clark County 4-H clubs remains steady even though more and more students don’t come from a farm. She attributes involvement to the organization’s mix of activity extending beyond livestock projects. Through 4-H, students can get involved in ceramics, sewing, baking, canning, painting, gardening, home furnishings and lots more.
Noah says parents are actually a key part of Clark County’s 4-H programs. Parental involvement helps round up volunteers and it’s how students get to their meetings or training sessions.
Beyond 4-H, Noah is seeing more demand for Family and Consumer Sciences — formerly home economics or Family and Consumer Education. She says a good mix of boys and girls are interested in FACS, which encompasses sewing, cooking, nutrition and career exploration. The program had been cut for five to six years because of low enrollment and low teacher availability.
This year, students in a Career and Technical Education class are required to do a job shadow to open their eyes to career opportunities, such as in food service or welding. Thorp High School is a part of the National Restaurant Association’s ProStart, a two-year high school program that gives students an industry-driven curriculum, such as culinary techniques and management skills. Pro Start includes contests for students that Noah says puts Thorp High School students’ names out there in the industry.