There were decorations, a lit tree and adults in red sweaters, Santa hats and reindeer antlers, but what made the LSU/SU AgCenter feel like Christmas was the laughter and excitement of its guests -- approximately 100 students from area Head Start centers.
This was only one of several groups that attended the Avoyelles Commission on Tourism’s “open house” for the 4-H Museum in the AgCenter. All of the parish’s Head Start centers participated over a two-day effort earlier this month.
This past Tuesday (Dec. 13), it was the senior citizens’ turn with a crafts program co-sponsored by the Avoyelles Council on Aging.
The program for the children was a cooperative effort between the ACT, Friends of the Library and the Southern University AgCenter staff.
“We had about 375 children over the two days, with the programs lasting about two hours each day,” ACT Director Wilbert Carmouche said. “The Southern University staff organized the cookie decorating and coloring sheets. The tourism commission and Friends of the Library did storytime, including a presentation from Freddy the Fox.”
The animated puppet told the children about the fun they would have as 4-H members. Sondra Garvin and Jan Lemoine ran the storytime segment.
Garvin got an enthusiastic response from the mostly 4-year-olds in her audience when she asked for a show of hands of everyone who had been a good boy or girl this past year.
Every child also received a gift as a memento of their visit.
Carmouche said the pre-Christmas programs are “intended to generate interest in the 4-H Museum.”
Louisiana 4-H began as the “Corn Club” at Moreauville High School, now Avoyelles High, in 1908. The organization spread throughout the state.
The national organization began in 1902 in Clark County, Ohio, as the “Corn Growing Club.”
4-H is the largest organization for youth development in the state and the nation. The museum is open free of charge and is considered to be one of the parish’s key tourist attractions, receiving visitors from throughout the state and nation, many of whom can reflect on their childhood involvement in 4-H.