Beyond Beef: Local 4-H Clubs Kayak Cook, K9 and even ‘Prep’

Did you know Gila County kids from age five to 18 can choose from more than two dozen 4-H Clubs, and activities ranging from woodworking to kayaking, dog training and agility – cooking, archery and STEM? 4-H is most famous for livestock and agriculture skills – but here in Gila County the program has expanded in so many exciting directions for children and teens.

4-H open enrollment continues during November; some clubs are currently meeting with others set to begin after the New Year.

Read more, enroll, or scroll the map of local clubs and contacts at

“Yes, these clubs offer a range of fun and activities,” says Renee Carstens, from the University of Arizona’s Cooperative Extension, “but even more, 4-H gives youths that extra edge for life success with a variety of opportunities to develop leadership, responsibility, citizenship and life skills. Being active in 4-H helps children and teens become competent, caring and actively engaged citizens, the type of people who strengthen our Arizona communities, making Gila County such a great place to live.”

How to get your kids involved in 4-H? Visit the website, choose a project or club that sounds interesting, contact the club leader and ask for details, or to join. Enrollees pay a program fee to the club leader and fill out paperwork specific to that club. After contacting a club, enroll online at 4Honline. For any questions call Renee Carstens 928-978-8511

Just A Few of More Than Two Dozen Local Clubs:

Gila County K9 Companions learn obedience training and proper care for their canine companions; to work with their dogs through an agility course, showmanship, and training. The Foster Dog Program offers youths an opportunity to learn dog obedience training skills, make a new four-pawed friend - and do a good deed.

Globe Woodchucks Explore woodworking and learn tool safely while building wood projects such as birdhouses, coin sorters and furniture. Advanced woodworkers can work on special projects.

Copper Cookers. Basic cooking and kitchen safety while making everything from butter and ice cream to jelly, jams, and cookies.

Arrow Slingers.

Archery and safety; learning the proper form for shooting archery. Including field, fita and 3-D archery.

Southern Gila County Kayakers. Acquire safe paddling skills, learn from experts in relevant areas of water safety and engage as a leader in the community. This club is limited to 12 youth members. Paddling practice to be planned after all safety training is complete.

Sewing. Basics to advanced sewing skills, with project range to include sewing machine operation, choosing individual projects, fabric, pattern or design, pattern placement, measuring, cutting, and construction. Learning opportunities may expand into yarn or other textile projects.

Spark Masters maintain and safely use small gas engines, learning through hands-on experience.

Gila Hoppers. Raising, breeding and showing rabbits, poultry, cavies, pygmy and dairy goats.

Emergency Preparedness: a special interest club with an eight-week program, for ages 14 - 18. Hands-on learning opportunities that include First Aide, CPR, water safety, boat rescue, and collaboration with the Fire and Police Departments. Each member will help prepare kits for home and develop a family emergency plan.

Life Skills: meets to research educational trips, develop presentations, budget, travel – even fundraising.

In addition to developing skills such as reasoning, creativity, problem-solving and public speaking; team members are active in the community at events such as volunteer days at Old Dominion Mine Park, food and clothing drives and more.

Find more clubs, and contact information for each, at:


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