Kewa Hillbillies gain hands-on cattle ranching experience, helping with branding and other ranch work.

Quarantine orders can be difficult for some to contend with. Not necessarily the case for Colville Reservation 4-H members!

These young people have plenty of activities to keep them busy. Besides their distance learning school assignments, many 4-H members have daily chores and a variety of projects to work on.

4-H is a year-around Positive Youth Development program. Caring volunteers help to provide a safe environment for 4-H members to learn, explore, and gain life-skills through their various projects. These 4-H projects are as varied as the youth and their communities. There are over 100 different 4-H projects, including but not limited to, cooking & nutrition, gardening, sports fishing, performing arts, sewing, small animals, horsemanship, and market animals.

While not able to meet face-to-face with their 4-H clubs/groups, many 4-H volunteer leaders and Extension 4-H Coordinators are still supporting the hands-on learning and continued exploration of the 4-H youth. They are using technology to reach out, support, and educate about the many interests of youth. 

Here are a few examples of how Colville Reservation 4-H members are continuing to work with their 4-H projects and their continued efforts to “Make the Best Better.” 

Amaya, Roland, Adonis and Collise – This group of cousins, along with their siblings not pictured, all contribute to the family tradition of raising livestock – cattle, sheep, and horses. They also actively participated in the annual family cattle branding. All members of the Kewa Hillbillies 4-H club, these 4-Hers continue to perform daily chores around the ranch and training and riding their horses. They are also active in gardening, shooting sports and sports fishing. 

Inorah is a member of Keller Valley Highriders 4-H club. This is her third year in the horsemanship project. She loves riding and spends every moment that she can, working with her horse. She is also active in shooting sports, creative arts, and foods preservation projects.

Stockton is a 3rd year member of Keller Valley Highriders 4-H club. His main projects are rabbits and poultry, but he also participates in shooting sports and creative arts. Not only does Stockton raise poultry, he also gathers and sells the eggs from the poultry. He is very industrious. This helps him to learn about financial responsibility and allows him to save money for future projects and education.

Eli and Connor are members of the Keller Valley Highriders 4-H club. They stay busy year-round on the family ranch, where they raise sheep, goats, and cattle. They experience all aspects of ranching life, from daily feeding and care, helping with new-born lambs, and grooming and training their 4-H projects. 

Wilders – Nespelem Creek Kids 4-H club participates in market hogs and raising honeybees. As one of their Community Service projects, these 4-Hers make products using honey and donate them to community programs and Senior Citizens. Since COVID-19 quarantine, 4-H clubs have not been able to meet face-to-face. 4-H leader, Ian Wilder, and his wife Darlene, have taken it upon themselves to continue the club’s tradition. They have been making honey sticks and donating them to the Colville Confederated Tribes Senior Meal sites, for distribution to the tribal elders as part of them senior meals delivery program. The Wilders and Nespelem Creek Kids 4-H club have donated over 300 pound of honey through this project.

4-H members are the epitome of resiliency. Even through adverse pandemic restrictions, 4-H youth have continued to demonstrate strong work ethic, and they continue to learn from their 4-H projects.  The 4-H youth of today are diligent as they strive to “Make the Best Better.”

If you would like more information on 4-H Positive Youth Development or other Extension programs, please contact Linda McLean, Colville Reservation WSU Extension Director, (509) 634-2305 or ljmclean@wsu.edu . Or you may contact the WSU Ferry County Extension office at, (509) 775-5225 ext. 1116 or the WSU Okanogan County Extension office (509) 422-7245. Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local Extension office.

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