Here's some of the latest news from the San Luis Valley 4-H program.

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I grew up in the 4-H youth development program in Illinois, spending ten years trying out every project from woodworking to rockets to cake decorating. My mom was our club leader, and her mom was her club leader before that. So many of the skills I have today I can trace back to my experiences in 4-H. It’s truly been a joy to help bring those same types of experiences to San Luis Valley youth as your 4-H Agent.

After nearly 6 years in this role, I’m moving back home to Illinois to be closer to my family and start work with University of Illinois Extension. I wanted to use my last column to express gratitude to all of those who have helped make my experience here so positive.

The San Luis Valley 4-H youth development program is looking for adults to share their knowledge as volunteers. These volunteers will leverage their experiences and interests to help youth build life skills in various subject areas.

“Volunteers are essential to help youth make the most of the wide variety of learning experiences they are presented with in 4-H,” said Amy Henschen, 4-H Extension Agent with Colorado State University. “We are currently looking for adults to serve as project leaders or help with workshops and school programming so we can better serve youth in the Valley.”

Every dollar county, state and federal agencies invest in the Colorado 4-H Program is returned to the state’s economy six times over. That’s one of the findings of a new Colorado State University study evaluating the economic contributions of the youth development program.

“This is a conservative estimate of the contribution of 4-H,” said Rebecca Hill, a CSU extension research economist and author of the study. “In addition to the monetary benefits, there are other benefits that are not easily quantifiable.”