4-H specialty club focuses on Jones Co. tourism

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     There’s a new Jones County 4-H club for those looking to explore Jones County.

     Travel Jones County 4-H Club is a specialty club designed for youth in grades fourth through 12th.

     “It’s a new idea,” said Jacki Luckstead, Youth Program Specialist with Jones County Extension. “It’s designed to help kids learn about where they live.”

     Luckstead worked with Jones County Tourism Director Bob Hatcher to help put the program together.

     “We brought the idea to Tourism because that’s what they’re doing already,” Luckstead said.

     Hatcher said his mission is to help more young people in Jones County “know what’s available for them to do.

     “From a selfish standpoint,” continued Hatcher, “I am looking for more people to sell Jones County.”

     Luckstead said the specialty club will be youth-led.

     The first meeting is Sunday, Jan. 21 at the Jones County Tourism Office in downtown Anamosa. After hearing from Hatcher about tourism efforts in the county, the club will then tour The Anamosa State Penitentiary Museum. The club will meet monthly after that at the Extension Office in Monticello.

     “We’ll just see where this goes,” said Luckstead.

     She hopes the youth gain a vision for Jones County, an understanding of where they live and what’s around them here.

     “I want them to be able to identify locations within the county that interest them and present the information to the group,” added Luckstead. She said the project would involve some research, of which Hatcher might be able to assist in. From there, the kids will put a presentation together.

     “This will get kids away from their screens and enjoy the outdoors,” Luckstead said of physically touring and learning about Jones County. She said the project would also help kids improve their communication skills beyond the Internet, presenting in front of a group of their peers. “We’ll work on verbal and written skills.”

     She said many times, families don’t think of vacationing close to home, but rather feel the need to drive hours away.

     “There are plenty of things here people need to know about,” said Luckstead.

     Hatcher outlined several different categories of sights to see in Jones County:

     • Museums

     • Golf courses

     • Parks

     • Campgrounds

     • Things to do

     • River trails

     • Local events

     He said itineraries could be designed for those looking for staycation activities.

     “This is a win-win for both the youth and tourism,” praised Luckstead. “It brings the youth voice to tourism.”

     If your child is interested in being a part of the Travel Jones County 4-H Club, RSVP to Nanci Null at the Extension Office (319-465-3224) by Wednesday, Jan. 17. The enrollment fee is $30, which allows the child to be part of any 4-H club for one year.

     “They will become a 4-H member through this program,” explained Luckstead. “And it will add to their 4-H experience.”

     There is no end date for this club.

     “We hope it becomes a family affair,” encouraged Luckstead.


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