Ohio 4-H is once again partnering with JOANN to raise money for youth development programs. Donations for 4-H will be collected at checkout in participating stores and special discounts are available for JOANN/4-H Rewards Card members until May 1. Last year, the Ohio 4-H Foundation used funds raised from this campaign to offer mini-grant opportunities to county 4-H professionals. Read on to learn how Ottawa and Tuscarawas County used their 2022 grants.
Creative Arts at Camp
Thanks to the help of a JOANN mini-grant, Ottawa County was able to offer creative arts sessions at camp last summer. During their week-long county camp, more than 65 campers, ages 8 to 13, learned how to sew pillowcases, make tie-blankets, decorate cakes, and paint on canvases.
Molly Avers, Extension educator for 4-H said the mini-grant offered an exciting opportunity to introduce youth to activities they likely wouldn’t experience otherwise. “It is rewarding to see campers find their creativity and allow them the opportunity to explore new avenues,” she said. Their enthusiasm for the projects was a highlight. “Some of the youth enjoyed making the pillowcases so much they asked if they could come back and make another one the next day!”
They also took the opportunity to make gifts for others. “A few of the tie-blankets were gifted to family members, and scraps from the blankets were used to make braided dog toys. Some of the youth even made multiple toys for donations to animal shelters,” said Avers.
Quilts of Valor for Veterans
In Tuscarawas County, funds from the JOANN mini-grant went towards creating Quilts of Valor. This project is completed annually by county clubs and provides an opportunity for 4-H members to recognize and honor local veterans for their service. In 2022, seven quilts were completed and awarded to veterans at the Tuscarawas County Fair.
More than 90 members, adult volunteers, and parents lent their time, talent, and resources to completing the quilts. For the Town & Country 4-H Club, this project is more than a community service opportunity. “This project allows us to discuss the importance of our veterans,” said Renee Parker, a Town & Country 4-H Club advisor. “Over the years we’ve had the honor of presenting quilts to a World War II veteran and Vietnam veterans. Those wars and those soldiers’ sacrifices are far-removed from our young people’s minds, but this project helps them put a face to that time in our history.”
Creating a quilt is a group effort for the Town & Country 4-H club. Members vote on a design and volunteers assist by choosing fabrics and making templates. After they cut out their pieces, members often write messages of thanks or sign their names on the fabric. A club member’s mother sews the pieces of the chosen design and finishes the quilt for the club.
The Quilts of Valor project is completed with a draping ceremony in the main arena during the county fair. Christine Kendle, area leader and Extension educator for family and consumer sciences in Tuscarawas County, reported there was standing room only at last year’s presentation. “The ceremony is so touching, because of the wonderful thing these young people have done in creating beautiful quilts and the magnitude of the sacrifice the veterans offered to their country. Everyone is on their feet, paying respect to these men and women.”