Socorro County 4-H offers leadership skills, variety

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The 4-H Club has historically been dedicated to helping the world’s youth develop into positively contributing members of society.

Now more than 100 years old, the club is committed to “helping young people and their families gain the skills they need to be proactive forces in their communities and develop ideas for a more innovative economy,” according to the 4-H national Website.

Jonathan Miller/El Defensor Chieftain: Mavericks Club leader Christina Romero works on a project form with member Logan Miranda on Wednesday afternoon during the club’s monthly meeting.

The New Mexico 4-H is celebrating its centennial year in 2012, and offers young people statewide the opportunity to develop into productive citizens, according to the 4-H website.

Here in Socorro County, more than 200 members, spread across seven clubs, dedicate themselves to self-improvement through various projects, contests and activities.

The newest of those clubs, the Mavericks Club based in San Antonio, formed in January. So far, all indications are that the freshman club should carry the 4-H torch with pride.

Club leader Christina Romero has been involved with 4-H for about 10 years now, and her two youngest children are Mavericks members. Her two oldest were also involved in 4-H when they were younger, and since all of her children were, or are now home schooled, 4-H serves as a basis for social development and interaction.

Romero admits that she’s shy by nature, and getting involved with the organization was good for both her and her family.

“4-H has brought me out of my shell and it did that for my kids,” she said. “So when I see shy kids kind of sit back, I know exactly what they’re going through. We work with them and before you know it, they’re out there giving demonstrations on their own.”

In addition to the positive social interaction 4-H families are privy to, there is an extensive variety of sponsored projects members can participate in that encourage societal contributions and personal growth. Project areas include animal science, horticulture and agronomy, natural science, engineering science, personal growth and development, creative arts, home economics, arts and crafts, consumer education, and home management and family life. Within project areas are dozens of subcategories, giving members the opportunity to immerse themselves in a wide assortment of activities. Romero and her family were originally a part of Tumbleweed Club, which she says was focused a bit more on livestock and animal science. The club surpassed any expectations she had when she joined.

“It was something way more than we expected it to be,” she said.

However, Romero and a few other parents wanted to concentrate on other project areas for their kids, such as home economics, so that’s when they decided to form Mavericks Club. Fortunately the extension agent Romero spoke with said they only needed five members to start their club.

“So we got our five and the first club meeting ended up being 10.”

In addition to developing good leaders, one of the areas the club specifically tries to focus on is the financial aspect of adulthood. They teach the kids to do record keeping, keep track of their money and how to save receipts.

Now the size of Mavericks has grown to around 30 members, and it looks like it may continue to grow. On Wednesday the club received three new members. The diversity of projects the kids participate in at Mavericks might be one of the reasons it’s attracting fresh faces.

“I think they get to do everything they want to do,” Romero said. “There are so many things. We have a little bit of everything.”

Mavericks Club meets the second Friday of every month at the community building located adjacent to the San Antonio Fire Station. For more information on Socorro County 4-H visit www.socorroextension.nmsu.edu.