By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — The 2020-2021 school year is fast approaching, and Newkirk Public Schools is gearing up for the fall semester. That also means a new 4-H year, and the Newkirk Go-Getters 4-H club is ready to start out with a new year to educate members as they seek to grow through the organization.
In addition to the Go-Getters, Kay County 4-H also has Tonkawa 4-H, the Blackwell OK- Okies and the Ponca City Kay Pals Livestock Club.
Kay County 4-H kicks off this Saturday, Aug. 1 at 11:30 a.m. with a Back to School Splash at the Sun N Fun Pavilion water park, located at 8900 Lake Road, Ponca City. Members will have a chance to get to know each other while getting ready for the 4-H year. There will also be a chance for prospective members to learn about what Kay County 4-H offers. Participants are asked to bring a lunch, while water and Gatorade will be provided by Kay County 4-H.
“I look forward to seeing the families and members I have already met, but also getting to know more families since we have a little more freedom to meet more in person,” said 4-H Educator Liz Nicholson.
The Go-Getters 4-H club activities begin Tuesday, Aug. 11 at the Ponca Pavillon at Lake Ponca, starting at 4:30 p.m. Monthly meetings are held on the first or second Tuesday of the month in the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church gym, 610 W. Ninth St., Newkirk. Meetings start at 6 p.m.
Some adjustments may have to be made to accommodate social distancing.
“With our August meeting, because we’ll be outside, we’ll have plenty of space to social distance,” said Go-Getters 4-H leader Theresa Horinek. “We’re going to take it meeting by meeting because we’ll have to see if there are any restrictions the State 4-H office would give us.”
The club has already met virtually during the lockdowns, and if needed, they are ready to continue that course.
“Early in the spring, we did some Zoom meetings, and that went well,” Horinek said.
If meeting in person, there will be some guidelines that must be followed to help protect the health of fellow members, leaders and parents.
“It will be pretty standard,” Nicholson said. “Stay at home if you’re sick, avoid contact with other people, wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough and avoid touching your face.”
Nicholson added it is unclear when 4-H will hold full meetings again, due to state guidelines.
“Right now, this is all the info we have as far as how 4-H can go this year,” she said. “It’s something we’re taking one step at a time for Kay County.”
During the last 4-H club year, the Go-Getters had about 52 members, Horinek said, but in the large gym at St. Francis of Assisi, there shouldn’t be any problems for in-person meetings.
“Members don’t always come to every meeting; we average about 30 every meeting, so we’ll follow the state guidelines right now, and keep up with what the recommendations are,” Horinek said.
Overall, even with the restrictions, 4-H members and leaders are ready to start a new year and begin meeting again.
“We’re just going to proceed as much as normal, but follow the guidelines,” Horinek said.
For more information, contact Kay County 4-H at (580) 362-3194.