4-H and Youth Programs
Working with children may be a challenge but the rewards immensely outweigh anything else. Their unadulterated joy and eagerness is contagious. How can you not smile when you have such happy faces staring back at you? Join the group of amazing Master Gardeners who work with children of all ages.
Boys and Girls Club
Volunteers work with children of all ages in the garden. Emphasis is on growing vegetables along with some flowers for pollination. Growing unfamiliar vegetables is greatly encouraged. In addition, plant identification, plant parts, and beneficial v. destructive insects are part of the education. Keeping the beds tidy while the Master Gardeners are away helps to keep the children interested.
West End Center
There is so much fun going on at the West End Center that the kids don’t even realize they are learning about soil, seed starting, and watering! Twenty or so eager smiling faces are ready to garden! Volunteers are warned that their faces may hurt from all the grinning and smiling they will be doing.
Every summer the Roanoke Master Gardeners provide classes for the children at the West End Center. This eight-week series for third and fourth graders emphasizes hands-on learning in topics such as soil, insects, plant parts, worm composting and more. The last class usually involves a field trip to the Community Arboretum at Virginia Western Community College. The kids especially love the sensory garden, finding the animal plant names in the children’s garden, and running through the maze!
James Madison Middle School
These young people don’t just dig in the soil. They get to examine petals, leaves and seeds. They learn how seeds are encased and how they sprout. Hands on is the best way to remember and expand one’s knowledge. See, hear, and touch classes make for smart planting. Learning the science behind the gardening prevents pest and disease issues. Working smart is the way to go!
Who doesn’t love a 4-H member? These young farmers mean business! They are intent on hearing everything you have to offer including your stories of experience. They want to know everything! Be prepared for an immensely satisfying day.
4-H members may develop a garden or nutrition club or offer workshops for other clubs. Projects occur throughout the year. These members learn an appreciation of nature and hard work. In addition, they learn about soils, fertilizers, pesticides, water resources, insects, disease, plant morphology, pollination, plant culture, harvesting and food preparation. On top of all that, they come to understand and appreciate the difficulty of growing, harvesting, and distributing our nation’s food.