MANHATTAN — With each new school year comes opportunities for growth in and out of the classroom. For those ages 7-18, now is the time to consider adding 4-H to their hands-on learning experiences, said Beth Hinshaw, Kansas State University Southeast Area Extension specialist.

“Through 4-H, young people have the opportunity to find a project area that they are really interested in, their spark,” Hinshaw said. “We have more than 30 different project areas for students to have hands-on experiences and showcase what they’ve learned in a variety of ways.”

One of those 4-Hers who is closing out on the end of her 4-H career is Annika Wiebers, a member from Riley County and a member of the Kansas 4-H Leadership Council.

“I began sewing with my grandmother when I was 5 years old by making a t-shirt dress and last year, I made my prom dress. My passion for sewing is something I would not have discovered without 4-H and now I absolutely love doing it,” Wiebers said.

She also said that 4-H pushed her into trying new projects, one of which is raising sheep.

“I didn’t show any livestock until I was 15 because my friends told me I’d be good at showing sheep, so I tried it,” Wiebers said.

Beyond projects, Wiebers also grew her leadership skills by serving on the Kansas 4-H Leadership Council. In that role she helps connect others to state events such as Citizenship in Action and Kansas Youth Leadership Forum, both of which are hands-on conferences focused on citizenship, leadership and project-based learning.

“My work on projects has given me wonderful networking opportunities and helped lead me to my agricultural communications major at K-State,” Wiebers said.

For those who may be interested in learning more about 4-H, Hinshaw advised visiting the Kansas 4-H website where people can link to the local extension sites where they can find out more about their area clubs. Enrollment for the 2021-2022 year begins Oct. 1.

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