Kids find fun, friends at 4-H | SummitDaily.com
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Kids find fun, friends at 4-H

SUMMIT COUNTY – Eighth-grader Ally Faulkner of Silverthorne is one of many kids who has joined a 4-H program to ride horses. But while she is riding, competing and making friends, Faulkner also is learning life skills.

“A lot of people do come to 4-H and they think it’s all about riding horses, but it’s not,” said Kathie Kralik, Summit County 4-H coordinator.

Kralik said the 4-H programs are only a means to an end. It is through the programs that kids learn life skills including respect, commitment, leadership and community service.



“So the project itself is secondary,” Kralik said.

Last week, Faulkner and her friend Sarah Siegel of Silverthorne began teaching a Horseless Horse class. The class teaches kids about horses before they have their own horses or learn to ride. Teaching the class fulfills the girls’ community service requirement to compete in this year’s Mountain Community Fair. But it also teaches them leadership skills.



Each class is different, and the girls (who have taught the class previously) have learned to adapt their presentations to meet the students’ needs. On Monday, they were teaching three elementary school children the different parts of a horse, a horse’s markings and the tools used for grooming.

Fourth-grader Juliana Atteberry of Frisco said her family plans to buy a farm with horses in the next few years. She is taking the class to learn as much as she can in anticipation of caring for the animals. In just two classes, Atteberry has learned the various horse markings and the different grooming tools.

Atteberry’s schoolmates, fourth-grader Ophir Morales and his younger brother Isai, both of Frisco, also are taking the class. Ophir also has taken leathercraft and ceramics through 4-H.

The 4-H programs not only provide entertainment and social interaction for the boys, but help them develop skills, their mother Roxana said.

The Horseless Horse class, leathercraft and the horse projects are only a few of the local 4-H offerings, which are open to any children between the ages of 5 and 18. Other programs include rocketry, shooting sports (archery and rifle .22 target shooting) and dog therapy.

“If we don’t have it, it doesn’t mean that we can’t do it,” Kralik said. She can offer additional options as long as there is student interest and group leaders.

The kids in the various 4-H programs compete in the annual Mountain Community Fair in

Silverthorne – which is scheduled for July 9-13 – where their projects or riding skills are critiqued by judges.

Faulkner has participated in the 4-H horse program for years now, but she also has taken ceramics, photography and is involved with the dog therapy program, where kids make monthly visits with therapy dogs to the Leadville nursing home.

For Faulkner the 4-H programs have taught her skills and kept her out of trouble. But the annual Mountain Fair Competition has increased her confidence and given her a sense of pride, she said.

Last year was the first time she placed well enough in the local fair to compete in the state fair. This year, she hopes to again make it to the state competition and place even higher.

And through the fun and the competition – whether Faulkner knows it or not – she is learning life skills.

For more information about 4-H programs, call Kathie Kralik (970) 485-4142.


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