KOSCIUSKO — The Kosciusko County 4-H Poss-ABILITIES program ensures that livestock exhibition and other 4-H opportunities are possible for youth of all backgrounds and abilities.
The program, open to youth in kindergarten to grade 12, matches participants with an experienced 4-H family as mentors to help them care for and exhibit livestock at the county fair.
“We have youth of all abilities already in our 4-H program but the great thing about Poss-ABILITIES is it offers that extra promotion and that extra help to families with children with special needs so that they, maybe not having resources of their own, are able to get connected with a mentor family,” said Mindy Wise, Kosciusko County 4-H youth development educator.
Participants are expected to attend an orientation meeting and three farm visits, giving them the opportunity to exhibit in the non-competitive Poss-ABILITIES showcase in July at the Kosciusko County fairgrounds. Participants may also opt to show cattle, pigs, goats, rabbits, poultry, llamas or alpacas competitively. There is no requirement for prior experience with animals or living on a farm.
The $5 fee for grades K-2 and $20 fee for grades 3-12, sponsored for first-year families, covers 4-H enrollment. Through 4-H youth also have the opportunity to build their leadership, public speaking and communication skills by attending club meetings, workshops, camps, and enrolling in non-livestock projects such as foods, creative writing, garden, scrapbooking, photography, Legos and more.
“It’s a great program for you to do because not only does it let you show sheep but it lets kids in wheelchairs show sheep,” said participant Skylar Payton.
“You don’t know what your child is capable of if you don’t try different things,” said Samantha Payton, Skylar’s mother. “Just because they have different abilities doesn’t mean they should sit back and not do anything.”
Registration is due to the Kosciusko County Extension Office, 202 W. Main St., Warsaw, by 4:30 p.m. April 1. For more information, contact (574) 372-2340 or [email protected].