Local youth organizes camp and community service project

LARKSPUR – Local 4-H member Kristine Hoffner, 17, of Center, organized the Youth Fest 4-H Camp, February 9-11, in Larkspur. More than 200 youth attended the event. As part of the camp Hoffner also organized a blanket-making community service project.

“Leading the team that planned this camp was both a humbling and motivating experience,” said Hoffner, Youth Fest committee chair and District 8 4-H president. “While this camp brought many challenges, I was very excited to be the camp chair. I got to step out of my comfort zone a bunch of times, and that helped make me a stronger leader.”

Hoffner serves as the San Luis Valley representative on the 4-H State Officer team. That team of 15 youth plans a number of events like Youth Fest. Hoffner served as the chairperson for the camp. In that role she helped guide the other officers in planning workshops, recreation and camp logistics.

The event theme was “Thinking Outside Your Clover” and in addition to recreation and a dance, it featured four hands-on workshops. Each workshop was themed to a different “H” from the 4-H clover: Heads, Heart, Hands and Health.

Hoffner led the Heart workshop, where youth made fleece blankets to donate to cancer patients at the Penrose-St. Francis Breast Care Center. They also wrote inspirational notecards to accompany the blankets. Campers completed 16 blankets at the event, including one featuring fabric with pink breast cancer ribbons.

“I was so happy with how the community service project went,” said Hoffner. “I got the idea for the project when my mother came back from a treatment at the Penrose-St. Francis Center with a donated blanket. I know how blessed she was to get that blanket and I wanted to bless other people going through a hard time. So I contacted the center and arranged for 4-H to make and donate blankets. They turned out great, and all the kids really seemed to enjoy making them.”

Ten local 4-H members were among those in attendance at the event. Besides the blanket workshop, they also learned to dance, participated in team building games, and listened to a guest speaker that talked about overcoming insecurities.

“Making the blankets and cards was my favorite part of the camp,” said first time camper Emily Clark, 9, of San Luis. “I think the people who get them will feel special and happy.”

Youth Fest is just one of many camps offered by Colorado 4-H throughout the year. All 4-H camps and conferences have youth involved in the planning process, and aim to teach kids valuable life skills.

For more information on the 4-H youth development program and 4-H camp opportunities visit the San Luis Valley website at http://sanluisvalley.colostate.edu or call 719-852-7381. 4-H is a cooperative effort between Colorado State University Extension and Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties. Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.

Caption: Kristine, left, poses with a group of youth working on a blanket at her community service workshop./Courtesy photo