Dayton 4-H focus: community service, life skills, fun


THE 4-H slogan asks, "Are You Into It?" The Dayton 4-H Club answers with a resounding "Yes!"

With a membership of more than 100, the Dayton 4-H Club is one of the largest in Howard County. It has been around for more than 25 years.

While some clubs specialize in horses or dogs, Dayton 4-H is open to a variety of projects: beekeeping, forestry, creative writing, cooking, dairy, beef, swine, sheep, photography, rockets or bicycles.

To be considered complete, each project must be presented to the community.

Recently, Stephanie Simmens shared her Grand Champion Forestry Educational display board with a local Girl Scout Troop.

Next week, in observance of National 4-H Week, Dayton members will promote the organization in the community. Look for club banners, display boards and booths at neighborhood schools and businesses and at the George Howard county office building in Ellicott City.

"We hope to hear of many more young people enrolling in the 4-H after National 4-H week," said Melissa Simmens, a parent volunteer with the club.

Dayton 4-H members work on their projects throughout the year. The Howard County Fair and Maryland State Fair are busy times for them. Now they are recording all the details of their work for their record books.

The books will be judged at Achievement Night next month.

Community service is an important aspect of 4-H. Last weekend, Stephanie and Molly Simmens, Angela and Gloria Post, and Bry and Katherine Robinson volunteered at the Howard County sesquicentennial booth during Farm Heritage Weekend at Mount Pleasant Farm in Woodstock.

The time at the sesquicentennial table gave them an opportunity to serve as county volunteers while sharing their knowledge and experience of 4-H.

During the Howard County Fair's Parade of Floats in August, Dayton 4-H presented a float dubbed "4-H is Mmm ... Mmm ... Better."

The float consisted of a kitchen on wheels with a simmering soup pot attended by 4-H members wearing chef's hats.

"The float displays the character traits and life skills that 4-H helps to develop in young people," said Stephanie Simmens, the club's reporter.

The float won a first-place ribbon.

First-year club members who rode on the float were Angela Post, Amanda Upchurch, Katherine Knaus, Amanda Betz, Robin Biegel and Michael Burchick.

Also riding were seasoned 4-H members Sam Boswell and Kim Patterson.

If you missed it at the fair, you can still see the blue ribbon Dayton 4-H Club float Sunday at the Dayton Daze Parade.

Kudos to the Lazzaris, the Pabsts, the Simmenses, the Probey-Thompsons, the Schlicts and the Lowmans. All these families served on the float committee.

If your group or business is interested in participating in National 4-H week by providing a venue for 4-H projects or displays, contact Melissa Simmens at 410-730-3658.

The club, which emphasizes learning life skills through projects and community service, is open to youths ages 5 to 18.

Information on joining a 4-H club in Howard County: Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, 410-313-2707.

Corn maze

Check out the Corn Maze and Historical Facts Contest at Sharp's Farm in Brookeville. The fun includes hayrides and storytelling.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, Ann Jones will share her memories of the days when dairy farms were numerous in Howard County.

She recalls milking twice a day, just as all neighbors did. "The water-line in the dairy barn froze" was once a normal excuse for being late to Glenelg High School.

Try that one today.

The cost for the maze is $4.50 for ages 12 and older; $4 for ages 4 to 11. Admission includes a copy of the book "Remembering Howard County."

The farm, at 4003 Jennings Chapel Road, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends through next month.

Information: 301-854-6275 or

Learning well

High school parents take note: The Glenelg High School PTA Speaker Series begins Tuesday with a talk from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. by Gene Streagle, director of high schools for the Howard County Board of Education.

Streagle will discuss "The Family Role in Student Learning - Communicating with Your Teen on a Cool Level."

The second session will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 6, with a College Planning Night presented by educational consultant Martha Gagnon.

PTA President Terry Chaconas said the presentation may be of interest to middle school parents, too. The community is welcome.

Both sessions will take place in the Glenelg High School media center, 14025 Burntwoods Road, Glenelg.

Refreshments will be served.

Information: Brenda Von Rautenkranz, 301-854-5582.

Verizon employees help

The Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center in Glenwood welcomed help from Verizon Wireless on Sept. 20.

Twenty-five employees of the telephone company dedicated a day to helping with a fall cleanup of the Children's Memorial Garden at the center. The garden remembers young people served by the facility who have passed away.

Verizon also repaired and painted fences.

"I cannot get over how much work the group accomplished," said Helen Tuel, director of the center.

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