Anamosa

The Fairview Thunderbolts is changing up how their club operates.

The group will now be a Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) specialized club.

This means that the better part of club meetings will now be spent on learning and experimenting in areas like robotics, engineering, environmental science and coding. Discussions over making the club STEM-focused have been going on over the course of the entire summer.

The new focus lines up with primary club leader Kimberly Keister’s science background. Youth Development Program Specialist Jacki Luckstead said the extension office has the materials necessary to help with the transition, including receiving a couple of grants for the purchase of some STEM materials.

“It’s exciting for Jones County,” she said.

Those materials are available for any of the clubs to use at any time.

By putting a new wrinkle on one of the county’s 4-H clubs, Luckstead hopes that some new faces decide to join into a 4-H club.

“Hopefully, it will spark interest in some different kids,” she said. “We’re trying to change the perception of the public because people tend to think of 4-H as farming, and we’re trying to show that we’re more than that.”

The Jones County Extension Office’s staff are looking into other possible specializations for the future, but those discussions are still in the initial phases.

“You have to have adults that are interested,” Luckstead said. “Finding adults with specific talent or interests is the first step. There’s always kids, you just have to find the adults that are willing to give time and share their special skills.”

The Jones County 4-H is having a 4-H Find Out event Oct. 13 at the Jones County Extension Office on the Great Jones County Fairgrounds for families to learn about 4-H. Families are encouraged to attend with any youth (4th-12th grade) interested in joining. New members are also encouraged to attend to gain a better understanding of 4-H. During the event, explore project areas, meet local members/volunteers, participate in hands-on activities, learn about opportunities through 4-H. Snacks and door prizes will be provided.

Those interested in learning more about the event can contact Molly Schmitt, County Youth Program Coordinator at 319-465-3224 or mollyrs@iastate.edu.

To enroll or learn more about the Fairview Thunderbolts, contact Schmitt at mollyrs@iastate.edu or 319-465-3224 or contact Keister at kimberly-keister@uiowa.edu or 319-462-3335.

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