IVANHOE - Taylor Welu, a 2011 Marshall High School graduate, has been enjoying her time this summer working as a summer intern for the Lincoln County Extension Office.
She started her internship on May 27, and she's been busy coordinating activities for the Lincoln County 4-H clubs. She has also been planning for the upcoming Lincoln County Fair, which is scheduled for July 31-Aug. 3 at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds in Tyler.
After graduating from Marshall High School in 2011, Welu enrolled in the ag education program at South Dakota State University in Brookings.
She will be a senior at SDSU when classes resume for the 2014-2015 school year at the end of August. She plans to graduate in December 2015 with a bachelor's degree in ag education and a double minor in ag business and Spanish.
Welu's parents, John and Theresa Welu, operate a hog farm three miles north of Milroy. While growing up on the farm, Welu was involved in 4-H during the summer months, and she helped her parents and her three siblings raise hogs and plant and harvest corn, soybeans and wheat and she helped cut and bale alfalfa.
Lincoln County 4-H Program Coordinator Kate Johnson of Hendricks and administrative assistant Jill Daniels of Ivanhoe have been teaching Welu the ins and outs of being a 4-H program coordinator. Welu's been busy helping coordinate and attending 4-H day camps and planning and coordinating other 4-H activities.
Welu said that she found out about the internship with the Lincoln County Extension Office from the summer intern who previously had the position during the summers of 2011 and 2012.
"After I found out how exciting and educational the job was, I decided to apply for the internship in Lincoln County and luckily they hired me," Welu said.
During the summer of 2013, Renee Johnson, a graduate of Russell-Tyler-Ruthton High School, Tyler was the Lincoln County Extension Office intern.
"This internship has been great in helping me expand my horizons, and it's given me a chance to work with the 4-H youth groups and it's helped me become more acquainted with their families," Welu said. "It's also a unique way for me to showcase my skills and become a part of a wonderful organization and it's been a tremendous learning experience for me."
Welu said 4-H is a program that helps encourage young people to become more creative and productive citizens. She said 4-H helps members learn and apply useful skills in farming, homemaking, community service and personal development.
Some of the projects that 4-H youth are involved with are growing crops, raising and exhibiting farm animals, pets and livestock, and they learn how to sew, she said.
"Four-H gives young people a foundation for continuing education by helping them build character and showing them how to get along with others," said Welu. "They learn farm production and management principles, explore career opportunities, learn the meaning of good citizenship and learn skills needed for employment."
The program "also helps students become loyal and productive members of their communities and allows them to be more creative," she said.
In addition, she said through 4-H projects "they learn leadership skills and they learn the importance of nature and wildlife in our rural areas."
Some of the programs that Welu has helped coordinate and/or implement this summer during her internship with the Lincoln County Extension Office in Ivanhoe are 4-H day camps, 4-H camp at Lake Shetek near Slayton, the Lincoln County Fair and a babysitting clinic in Ivanhoe.
Welu said that she has really enjoyed working with Lincoln County youth. She enjoyed coordinating and implementing the 4-H day camp at the Community Center in Ivanhoe June 4.
"We taught the youth the important role that earthworms play in maintaining the nutrients in soil," Welu said. "This was just one of the many things our young 4-Her's learned at day camp. Our young 4-Her's had a chance to get their hands dirty and learn about composting by creating their own jars of worms that they took home with them. They learned about all of the different types of materials that can be composted. The fun part was when the kids dove right into the dirt searching for worms to put into their composting jars."
Welu said that the kids also had a chance to learn about gardening when they went on a tour of The Slope and picked out flowers for the planters located outside in front of the Ivanhoe Community Center and Public Library. She said that once the students picked out the flowers for the planters, they were allowed to take a souvenir flower home with them. They then returned back to the Ivanhoe Community Center and they started planting their flowers.
"The flower planters outside the Ivanhoe Community and Library ended up looking real nice, with the boys in our group planting shade flowers in one of the planters and the girls planting sun flowers in the other planter," Welu said. "Since the weather was so beautiful that day, we wrapped things up by doing more fun activities outside. It was a wonderful and terrific learning experience for everyone."
Welu said that one of the more challenging activities that she's planned and implemented so far during her internship was being in charge of 90 kids during 4-H camp at Lake Shetek.
Welu said that one of the more important responsibilities of her job as the summer intern and that of the Lincoln County Extension Office is to supervise and guide the activities of the 4-H clubs in Lincoln County and allow the 4-Her's to demonstrate their knowledge and skill level in a wide variety of 4-H projects both at the local and state level.
After she graduates from college, Welu hopes to be either a high school ag teacher or get a job in 4-H as a county 4-H program coordinator.
"I would like to remain in the Minnesota or South Dakota area if possible," she said. "It all depends on what options are available after I graduate from college."