Three members of the Jefferson County 4-H Youth Development Program recently had the opportunity to apply skills gained through their 4-H Foods and Nutrition project.

The 4-Hers, Selettia Collins of the Jefferson County Teen Leader Club, Alexandria Mays and Jayla Sullivan, both of the Healthy Clovers 4-H Club, volunteered to assist the chefs in preparing ingredients and assisting with cooking the dishes for the “Foodways Tales” session.

The session was part of the Crossroad Festival conducted by the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, according to a news release.

“Project work is a crucial component of the youth development program and allows 4-H members to gain valuable life skills while further exploring their interests,” according to the release. “Once members select a project (or several) to learn more about, they receive a project manual to guide them and begin working with their parents, club leaders, and other adults who share similar interests to complete project-related activities. They also keep records of their activities, give written and oral demonstrations and illustrated talks about their projects and participate in competitive events related to their project.”

Most clubs have members interested in a wide variety of project areas, according to Pia Woods, staff chair and agent with 4-H Youth Development at the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service.

Occasionally, 4-H clubs are formed around one specific project area, such as the county Teen Leader Club, in which the members are all teenagers focused on developing and sharpening leadership skills, Woods said.

“Regardless of which project approach a club implements, 4-H project work not only increases the young person’s knowledge of a particular subject, but project work can also help them determine what career path they may want to take and help them prepare for that,” according to the release.

Woods also stated that a key component of 4-H project work is member recognition. Active 4-Hers who are serious about their 4-H project work are rewarded through prizes, awards, trips, special recognition and scholarships.

To learn more about 4-H projects or other programming available through Jefferson County 4-H, contact Pia Woods at pwoods@uaex.edu or visit www.uaex.edu.