New youth development coordinator wants to help strong ‘traditional’ office
Bob Koreski, new youth development coordinator for the Cooperative Extension Office, says Douglas County has one of the strongest traditional 4-H programs in the state.
“Traditional” translates as focusing on livestock and home arts clubs as 4-H has done for several decades. But the 1990s version of the youth program seeks to update its offerings and become more relevant to urban kids.
“My goal,” Koreski said, “is to continue the traditional 4-H program because Douglas, I believe, has one of the strongest traditional programs in the state, and then to increase the non-traditional programs and the in-school programs that 4-H has to offer.”
For instance, 4-H has curricula that can be used at the elementary school level for the study of such topics as embryology, youth budgeting and nutrition.
“It’s a curriculum that the teachers can use, and it’s open – it depends on how much they want to use. They can take small bits of it and teach it in a three-hour block or spread it out over a number of weeks.”
“Boo” Hulsey, a teen 4-H member and 4-H Ambassador who attended a Washington, D. C. conference last summer, is in the process of developing a new program called The Awareness Club, Koreski said.
The group will be the extension of the youth speech class, “Speaking with Confidence.” Speech students will be invited to help develop a speaker’s bureau as part of the Awareness Club. Members of the club will be available to give speeches to civic groups and other organizations about 4-H and do outreach in the schools.
Right now, Koreski is working with volunteer leaders and staff to coordinate the annual Junior Livestock Show held at the Douglas County fairgrounds in May. He is also concentrating on developing a new livestock club, which would include members of all the species clubs – swine, beef, dairy, goats, sheep and others.
“That’s so the kids in the clubs don’t just learn about their own species. They get together as a livestock club and learn about other species,” he explained.
Among the other types of animal clubs are the dog obedience, guide dog puppies and horse clubs. The dog obedience club – the Happy Heelers – is one of the largest, Koreski said.
In December, a wreath-making class is planned. Youths may, for a nominal fee, make a Christmas wreath, and all materials will be supplied. In spring a kite club will be offered.
Clubs are guided by adult volunteers who have expertise in a special area.
“We’re always looking for adult teachers for the programs,” Koreski said, “if they have any experience, for example, in livestock, home arts, cooking, leathercraft or making your own clothing.”
Koreski, 29, grew up in Oregon, graduated from the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, then spent three years in Tennessee and Kentucky in the U.S. Army. For the past two years he was director of education for the Associated Builders and Contractors in Reno, operating an apprenticeship program for construction workers.
He says he likes the West and enjoys the Carson Valley community.
“I’m kind of excited to move back to a smaller town,” he said. “I grew up in a town a lot like Minden-Gardnerville: Monmouth and Independence, Ore., about 20,000-30,000 people in the two towns. It was a bedroom community of a larger city. So I’m kind of used to this sort of thing.”
Koreski calls the people at the extension office “great,” and praises the people in the community he’s worked with since he arrived in August. He expects to do a lot with community programs in the future.
“Cooperative extension,” he said, “is all about identifying community needs – and what the community members want – and helping them to achieve their goals.”