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Commission honors 4-H Week
Program teaches many important life skills
4-H week pic
Michelle Beran, 4-H youth development agent with the K-State Research and Extension Cottonwood Extension District – Barton County, and 4-Her Ailey Williams present a proclamation for National 4-H Week to the County Commission Tuesday morning. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

When the Barton County Commission Tuesday morning adopted a proclamation marking next week as National 4-H Week, commissioners noted the value of the program and its benefits to youth who take part in the program’s myriad activities that make the participates better citizens. Michelle Beran, 4-H youth development agent with the K-State Research and Extension Cottonwood Extension District – Barton County, was joined by Great Bend 4-Her Ailey Williams in presenting the proclamation. 

“4-H, as delivered by area Cooperative Extension agencies, has helped thousands of youth become true leaders, entrepreneurs and visionaries,” Beran said. By declaring the week of Oct. 1–  as National 4-H Week, “the commission recognizes the importance of using the ‘Head, Heart, Hands and Health,’ the four core values of the 4-H mission, to make the best better.”

There are nearly 154 4-H members in Barton County who take part in many of the 40 projects offered through Kansas 4-H. “Within each of those projects are included leadership, citizenship and career options,” Beran said.

In addition, there is the new micro credential program, which allows for each members to select a compatible project area and receive course credit at K-State on their transcript. “There are several requirements to that program, but it’s a great way for a high school juniors or seniors to explore some career options, take some college coursework, and of course, work in a project area.”

Williams took another opportunity to get college experience when she was one of five local 4-H members who attended Discovery Days at K-State. This and provides our older members with a little bit of a college experience that includes staying and eating in the dorms, attending classes and navigating campus.

“I got to learn a lot about the different marketing and business classes I took there, and it was very helpful,” Williams said. “My favorite project areas that I do are foods and arts.”

Her main interests is foods since she would like a career in baking, she said. But she likes the arts since they give her the chance to be creative. 

Beran tooted Williams’ horn a bit, noting she jumped in as a volunteer to help with the visual arts at the Barton County Fair this year and offered to help the Kansas Beef Council at the Kansas State Fair. These showed the skills learned through 4-H.

“4-H is America’s largest youth development organization, supporting in excess of six million youth across the country in over 90,000 club,” the proclamation reads. “The 4-H community believes in our children, seeing the valuable strengths and real influence of each youth to improve the world around us.”

The 4-H program is delivered by Cooperative Extension – a community of more than 100 public universities across the nation that provides experiences where young people have taken on critical societal issues, such as addressing community health inequities, engaging in civil discourse and advocating for equity and inclusion for all, it continues. 

“National 4-H Week showcases the incredible experiences that 4-H offers young people, and highlights the remarkable 4-H youth in Kansas and throughout America who work each day to make a positive impact on those around them. 

“The commission encourages all citizens to recognize 4-H for the significant impact it continues to make by empowering youth to learn by doing,” it concludes.

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Tuesday morning:

• Adopted a National 4-H Week proclamation.

• Approved members to the Employee Engagement Committee.

It is the intent of the Commission to establish and annually fund an Employee Engagement Committee. In an effort to move forward with the EEC, the Commission solicited members, District 5 Commissioner Donna Zimmerman said. 

The appointment period will end Dec. 31, 2024, with the initial EEC members charged with the development of bylaws, short- and long-term goals, project development, and to create and host a holiday event for all employees.

• Approved the 2023 computer server upgrade.

On Aug. 31, the Information Technology Department released the 2023 server upgrade project request for proposal. The department sought pricing for hardware and software to upgrade two servers, IT Director Dereck Hollingshead said. 

The hardware and software to upgrade these two servers will allow Barton County Information Technology to replace a minimum of seven servers. Two vendors submitted bids. 

He said the Ellinwood and Great Bend police departments will reimburse the County for a portion of the cost and that there will be additional software costs.

The bid went to SHI for a cost not to exceed $45,000. In addition to the cost of the hardware, the county will also have to work with software vendors to migrate the data from the old servers to the new ones, Hollingshead said.

• Approved fleet insurance for the 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services.

Juvenile Services released a request for proposal for fleet insurance with a Sept. 15 deadline. The RFP called for coverage for four vehicles and 21 staff members, traveling in a five-County area transporting youth and families, as well as other business travel, Juvenile Service Director Marissa Woodmansee said. 

Two bids were received with the winner being Progressive for a cost of $6,116.

• Appointed Nathaniel Florian as special deputy coroner. At the recommendation of Ellsworth County, 20th Judicial District Coroner Dr. Pat Stiles made the request, said County Administrator Matt Patzner.

Following the agenda meeting, the following appointments were scheduled:

• Insurance review – Freedom Claims with County Administrator Matt Patzner and Human Resource Director Brenda Kaiser. 

• Year-end outcomes and program update with Central Kansas Community Corrections Director Amy Boxberger. 

• A conditional use permit for a communications tower with Environmental Manager Judy Goreham. 

• Program update with County Engineer Barry McManaman.

• Update on transmission repair with Solid Waste Director Jennifer Hamby. 

• Regular business discussion with County Administrator Matt Patzner.