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Fifth H (Horse) to help save Whidbey's 4-H
A horse named Missy may help save 4-H in Island County.
Amidst the melancholia of budget distress stories, North Whidbey resident Jerry Pfannenstiel and his 10-year-old daughter, Cassandra, made a heartwarming gesture to preserve a program that’s very important to the family. They decided to sell one of the family’s horses and donate the proceeds to the popular youth program.
“4-H is part of our lifestyle,” Pfannenstiel said.
Funding for the part-time 4-H coordinator was cut as part of the county’s $2 million in budget reductions for 2011. In fact, Island County has the distinction of being the only county in the state to cut off funding for 4-H, according to 4-H coordinator Jackie Vannice.
Vannice said doing away with her position would result in a reduction of the scale of the overall program, reduced participation in the county fair and much more work for all the adult volunteers, although fair officials say they can maintain without 4-H participation.
The future of many of the 33 clubs could be imperiled.
The 4-H members didn’t want to see that happen, so they decided to raise funds. They need to come up with $25,000 by the end of the year to keep Vannice and a small amount of funding for certain expenses.
“The kids were the first to step up to the plate. They wanted to donate their premium money,” Pfannenstiel said, referring to the money that winners at the county fair receive.
Also, the individual clubs are coming up with different ideas for raising funds, Vannice said.
Encouraged by the can-do spirit, Pfannenstiel decided to sell Missy, a 5-year-old “Welsh / Morgan cross” that’s an excellent jumper. Cassandra is involved in a 4-H pony club, but she rides a different horse; Missy just doesn’t get enough attention.
Pfannenstiel is hoping to get $5,000 for the pony, but he’ll accept the best offer. Anyone who’s interested can reach him at 360-632-1592.
According to Vannice, 275 kids and 124 adult leaders and superintendents were involved in 4-H during the “year” that ended this month. Now is the perfect time for kids to become involved. Just check out the WSU Extension of Island County website for a list of clubs and contact information.
It’s not just for country kids anymore. Vannice explained that some of the 4-H clubs are dedicated to things like robotics, videography and the weather. There’s a new club called Island Living that’s all about living on an island, from cooking to Indian culture.
Of course, there’s plenty of animal clubs dedicated to creatures great and small, from bees to guinea pigs to pigs to horses.
Donations to help 4-H make its goal can be sent to WSU Extension, PO Box 5000, Coupeville, WA, 98239. Checks should be made out to “WSU Extension” but earmarked in the check memo space as “for Island County 4-H.” Those who made donations will receive a receipt with a tax ID number for tax purposes.