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4-H signups start soon in Callaway County

4-H signups start soon in Callaway County

September 19th, 2017 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

Sophie Geppert, 10, said teaching her cows to behave while being led is probably the toughest part of showing them. This friendly 1-year-old heifer has a habit of stepping on Geppert's shoelaces.

Photo by Helen Wilbers /News Tribune.

KINGDOM CITY, Mo. — The heifer stepped on 10-year-old Sophie Geppert's shoelaces as she tugged her cow across the barnyard.

Geppert nudged the Holstein affectionately.

"She's about 1 year old," she said. "Mama bought her for me at a sale in Oklahoma we go to."

Geppert is a proud 4-H member who showed dairy last year. With sign-ups for 4-H opening soon, Geppert wanted to encourage other children to join the organization.

"I like the meetings, and we always have a livestock tour where we go to other people's barns so they can show their animals off," she said.

National 4-H Week begins Oct. 1 and will be preceded by a kick-off event for Callaway County 4-H participants, said Sarah Rohrbach, youth program assistant with the University of Missouri Extension in Callaway County. The free kick-off event is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. Sept. 30 at the former Lions Club Park in Auxvasse.

"This is the first year we're having (a kick-off)," Rohrbach said. "It's a chance for all the clubs in the county to gather together, and it's also for any family interested in 4-H to come talk to club leaders. There'll be kids from each club there to talk to."

Open sign-ups for 4-H begin Oct. 1 and run through December.

Callaway County has several clubs, including the Mighty Mokaners, the Hardin Hustlers and the New Bloomfield Cruisers, among others.

Cole County, too, has several 4-H clubs based in Jefferson City, Taos, Wardsville, Brazito, St. Martins, St. Thomas and more.

For more information about 4-H or to find a club, visit extension.missouri.edu/4h.

This will be Geppert's third year participating. She lives on a farm in Kingdom City, which belongs to her grandpa Harlan Borman, where the family has a small herd of cows.

While she herself hasn't been part of the organization for long, her family has a long history with 4-H.

"Sophie is a fourth-generation Callaway County 4-H-er," her mother, Kate Geppert, said. "Her great-grandmother Geraldine Atkinson was in 4-H and was a 4-H leader for the McCredie 4-H Club."

Kate's parents, Borman and Judy Atkinson Borman, were also members of 4-H. Each went to the National 4-H Conference in 1959 and 1958, respectively. All four generations have favored showing dairy.

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Sophie is carrying on the dairy tradition — she showed her heifer at the county fair this year — but she also has done arts and crafts, cake decorating and horsemanship.

"There's like 50 projects, from aerospace and amphibians to woodworking and welding," she said.

Sophie said she's learned a lot from participating in 4-H. Her grandpa taught her how to handle cows so she could be more successful at shows, she said.

"It's a lot of fun, and you get to learn how to do new things," Sophie said.

In arts and crafts, she made a wooden barn quilt, which soon will be proudly mounted on her family's barn.

She also picked up a new hobby.

"I had to do 'Exploring 4-H' last year, and I learned to fish for the first time," Sophie said. "I got a pole for my birthday."

She and her family praised the strong community aspect of 4-H. Kate said some of her old friends from 4-H now have children of their own in Sophie's club.

"It's a real community, and that's one thing I like about 4-H," Kate said.

Rohrbach said 4-H teaches valuable skills to children, like public speaking.

"I think it makes them more well-rounded and teaches them responsibility as they're taking care of animals," Rohrbach said. "They make friends."

Her four kids are all 4-H members, she said.