ALBANY CO., N.Y. — As America’s largest youth development organization, 4-H is a nationwide program that provides experiences for youth to “learn by doing.” This can be in the fields of animal science, plant science, art, health, science, and agriculture. The sky is the limit for youth and volunteers enrolled in 4-H programs across the United States! Here in Albany there are approximately 200 youth enrolled in Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Program, ranging in age from 5-19 years old. Animal science and agriculture are perennial favorites, with the llama project group becoming especially popular.
All winter long two groups of dedicated 4H-ers have excitedly arrived each week, in an unheated barn, in the dead of winter, eager to learn about llamas. Their parents too, have stood in frigid temperatures, watching and even have helped the children when needed as they learn how to halter, walk, teach and create trust with their llamas.
All because of one woman’s love of llamas.
It was infectious enough to inspire a group of children when the world of electronics and TV competes for their attention. And it continues to enable each child to learn to develop a relationship with their own llama, and in turn, teach the llamas to trust their new young friends.
The Llama Club has been going on since the fall when Teri Conroy of Wunsapana Farm in Altamont graciously allowed a group of 4-H Livestock Club members to begin a llama project with her sweet and curious creatures that have captured all of our hearts. Teri has imparted her knowledge in all things llamas: trust exercises, proper leading, conformation, llama wool types, proper showing technique, and trail and show obstacle course training.
Teri has also fanned the love of llamas for the children by sharing felting and other project ideas. In short, she has created a love of llamas and a valuable education for all of the kids and parents (and family/friends) who have attended each meeting.
The 4-H Livestock Club and parents would like to thank Teri for allowing us to be a part of her life and her llamas! We are so appreciative of her dedication and the time she volunteers to the club.
The Llama Group is currently full, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join 4-H if you are between the ages of 5 and 19! There are many opportunities for hands on learning, civic engagement, meeting new people, and youth development. If you are interested in joining 4-H in Albany County or learning more, please contact the Cornell Cooperative Extension office at (518) 765-3500 or visit our website at http://albany.cce.cornell.edu/. We look forward to hearing from you.
Article and images by Bernae Rogers (4-H Youth Parent and Volunteer) and Ashley Pierce (Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County Agriculture Educator).
–Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County
For more articles out of New York, click here.