Sanders County 4-H extension agent Juli Thurston is hailing the first 4-H member exchange a glowing success.
“Members had a great time and learned a lot about the differences between lifestyles of both Montana and Texas,” said Thurston.
A small group of members from the Sulfur Springs Texas branch travelled to the county for a week of fun activities and learning.
Texas members stayed with 4-H families all around the county while they were here.
From experiencing traffic jams of the Bison kind in Yellowstone Park to rafting the mighty Clark Fork, 4-H members young and old can’t stop talking of the great experiences had.
Because 4-H is made up of many programs that are offered to members, the time spent getting to know their Texas counterparts was one that stood out for Thurston.
“All members had similar projects and activities they are involved in but also different ones as well. They enjoyed comparing what we do in our program here in MT vs what they do in TX,” said Thurston.
The exchange program has already invigorated local members to look towards next summer to travel and experience Sulfur Springs, Texas.
“We have quite a bit of interest and will be advertising to let all 4-H members know of the opportunity to travel to TX next summer. We hope to start getting organized and fundraising the first part of October,” said Thurston of impending plans.
Though 4-H incorporates many aspects that have been proven to be beneficial to members in many areas of their personal and professional lives; it is exchange programs like the one that has just been that can really give them another learning experience.
There are vast differences between Montana and Texas, just in weather, landscape, environment alone and to be able to open the doors to members to learn a range of new skills and thinking processes is just one small benefit of them having the opportunity to connect with members of different branches.
When asked if their set goals were achieved for the week long visit Thurston replied,”I do [feel goals were achieved], their leaders were very good about incorporating the educational aspect of things they saw and learned about Montana and the 4-H program here.”
The short visit is another amazing way the 4-H program here in Sanders County is showcasing their part in the community.
“We encourage any youth who are interested to call us and find out about what 4-H has to offer. We are always looking to grow our membership,” said Thurston.
Just like any sporting or club atmosphere the 4-H program has that family within a family. The Burk Family from Thompson Falls, the French Family from Paradise, and the McAllister Family from Hot Springs; all hosted their Texas counterparts during the stay. This was also a great way for those Texas members to experience and meet members of the different clubs that make up Sanders County 4-H.
With the County Fair only weeks away and the school year set to start, there is still plenty of time contact the MSU Sanders County Extension office in Thompson Falls to see if you could be the next member to take part in a 4-H exchange.