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Friends of 4H is a fundraising and scholarship committee established by the Benton County Extension Council in 2015. Currently, there are two ways for groups and individuals to donate to Benton County 4H, the Benton County 4H Foundation and the Benton County Friends of 4H.

The Benton County 4H Foundation is a committee that manages the Benton County 4H Endowment Fund through the Iowa 4H Foundation. The other is Friends of 4H, whose monetary donations stay within the Benton County Agricultural Extension Fund and their goal is to have donations expended on scholarships and activities for 4H youth within two years of receiving them.

Allison Hicks, Benton County Extension Council Member and current Council Representative serving on Friend of 4H, would like to thank all of the businesses and individuals that have contributed to Friends of 4H thru the pie auctions at the Benton County Fair and those that have donated at other times. "The amount of support has been amazing. We have collected more than $15,000 in the past 5 years. said Hicks.

A local commodity group, the Benton County Pork Producers, has by far been the largest contributor each of the past 5 years. We have and will continue to donate to Friends of 4H because of the opportunities, experiences and activities that they have supported through their scholarship program for Benton County 4H youth said Ryan McClintock, Benton County Pork Producer Chairperson.

The money raised by Friends of 4H has assisted local 4H youth to attend the Citizenship: Washington Focus trip to Washington D.C.. Sarah Kreutner, a scholarship recipient for the Washington D.C. trip, states The Citizenship: Washington Focus trip gave me an amazing opportunity to learn about our nations government and history. It was one of my favorite experiences in 4H. Friends of 4H helped make my trip possible through their generous scholarship.

Friends of 4H has also given scholarships to attend National 4H Congress, State 4H Conference, Intermediate Trip, Junior Camp, Animal Science Camp, Horse Workshops, Fitting Clinics, Club Activities and the Livestock Judging Team and the list continues to grow and includes more activities than have been mentioned. These opportunities are experiences that these youth will remember for the rest of their lives, says Dan Voss, current Friends of 4H Chairperson. Bob Hanson, Livestock Judging Team Coach states. Friends of 4H puts financial resources directly to promote 4H and youth. Individuals and groups are encouraged and supported to participate and make a difference.

Friends of 4H also hosts a Barn Party for 4Hers on Saturday Night of the Fair with games and refreshments and also holds an annual skating party that is free to all 4H youth and Cloverbuds. Friends of 4H directly impacts young people and 4H. They are there to assist and encourage, says Hanson. Things like this really do come full circle. One year we gave a scholarship to youth and in return the next year they baked a pie to be sold to benefit someone else with the money raised. And many of our recipients and their parents work with us in the Pork Booth as a thank you for their scholarship, states Hicks.

For more information on donating to Friends of 4H or joining the Friends of 4H committee contact the Benton County Extension Office at 319-472-4739.

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