Thurston County 4-H News

April 2021

Nebraska Extension - Thurston County

Jennifer E. Hansen, Extension Educator,

Stacey Keys, Extension Assistant,

Samantha Beutler, Office Staff,

Upcoming Dates

April 18-24 - National Volunteer Week

April 30 - Office Closed - Arbor Day

May 7 - Horse: District & State Entries DUE (strongly encourage you get your county horse IDs in too)

May 10 - Thurston 4-H Council Meeting

May 28 - Adventure Day Camp Registration Deadline

May 31 - Office Closed - Memorial Day

June 14 - Joint 4-H Council Meeting


  • Enrolled in 4honline
  • Enrolled in Projects
  • ALL Livestock affidavits (including county Horse)
  • State Fair Beef, Sheep, Swine, & Goat DNA & Nominations

June 28-29 - PASE/Life Challenge @ UNL

June 30 - State 4-H Speech @ UNL

Congratulations All Contest Day Participants!

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Dakota & Thurston County 4-Her’s got the chance to participate, in person, at the 4-H All Contest Day, held on April 10, 2021 at the United Church of Pender. Contests included Public Speaking, Music, & Favorite Foods. Judges for the contests were Karna Dam and Megan Unwin. We want to thank our judges for making this experience possible for our local 4-H youth.

Speech Contest Results:

Clover Kid Division (5-7 years old)

• Addison Lamplot – Participation

• Kate Hansen - Participation

Junior Division (8-10 years old)

• Logan Hansen – Blue

• Payton Hermelbracht – Purple (State)

• Elle Lamplot – Purple, Junior Reserve Champion

• Amaryn Bodlak – Purple, Junior Champion (State)

Intermediate Division (11-13 years old)

• Brylea Mosser – Purple, Intermediate Reserve Champion (State)

• Rylie Hermelbracht – Purple, Intermediate Champion (State)

PSA Contest Results:

Intermediate Division (11-13 years old)

• Khloe Swanson – Purple, Intermediate Champion (State)

Music Contest Results:

Instrumental Music

• Amaryn Bodlak (Jr), piano – Purple

• Elle Lamplot (Jr), piano – Purple

• Logan Hansen (Jr), trumpet – Blue

• Rylie Hermelbracht (Int), saxophone – Blue

Vocal Music

• Khloe Swanson (Int) - Blue


• Amaryn Bodlak (Jr) – Purple & Best of Show

Favorite Food Contest Results:

Clover Kids Division

• Kate Hansen – Participation

Junior Division

• Amaryn Bodlak – Purple

• Payton Hermelbracht – Purple, Junior Reserve Champion

• Logan Hansen – Purple, Junior Champion

Intermediate Division

• Khloe Swanson – Purple

• Rylie Hermelbracht – Purple, Intermediate Reserve Champion

• Brylea Mosser – Purple, Intermediate Champion

Presentation Contest Results:

Junior Division

• Amaryn Bodlak – Purple, Junior Champion (State)

Save the dates!

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We are doing our best to keep you informed about all changes as things continue to shift. If you have questions please call or email FIRST! #thurston4Hstrong

COVID Update to Extension/4-H Programming Changes

As of March 3, 2021, Thurston County is in YELLOW!

As state and local COVID-19 situations continue to change, Nebraska Extension has updated their guidance for programming. As of Monday, November 30th if the State DHM color phase or the Northeast Nebraska Health Department COVID-19 risk dial are in RED, ALL Extension/4-H programs, meetings, and events must be delivered virtually, until the color changes. This included 4-H Club meetings!

If the risk dial is ORANGE, it is recommended that programs, meetings, and events are held virtually and facial coverings are required for in-person meetings.

If the risk dial is YELLOW, facial coverings are recommended and to follow local guidance for risk color.

COVID-19 Resources

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln takes the health and safety of our campus community very seriously. As the United States and global health officials continue to address the spread of novel coronavirus and COVID-19 infection, health and emergency preparedness officials at UNL are monitoring the situation in collaboration with our university and governmental partners. Any official updates regarding UNL’s response will be found on this site.

Member Info

Thank you for enrolling!!

Thank you to all that enrolled before March 1st! We got a large chunk of you and a few new ones! If you haven't picked up your Thurston t-shirts yet, they're here in the office. Let us know and we can get them pulled together for you!

Everyone still can enroll and we know you're out there just waiting!!

Keep Up on Facebook!

For all you new members and for our previous ones, to keep up with all the latest updates and information as soon as possible! Follow us on Facebook @UNLExtensionThurston!

4-H Online Enrollment & Re-Enrollment

Visit to enroll for the 2020-2021 4-H year!

There is a $5 enrollment fee.

Cloverleaf Livestock: Pay Club

Rosalie Feeders, TC Roughriders, & Independent: Pay the Office Directly

NOTHING'S CHANGED!!! But since it's a new year we need you to re-enroll at There are step by step sheets at For both new families and families that already have profiles. If you already have a profile make sure you DO NOT make a new profile.

If you are a VOLUNTEER for our program we also need to you to re-enroll in our online database. Again step by step information can be found at NEW Thurston County volunteers will need to do a background check before Volunteer Enrollment will be complete!

If anyone of you has questions please call the office and we'll do our best to work through any issues.

4-H Summer Info

Thurston County Summer Workshops!

We're keeping our fingers crossed that we can continue to plan for as much of an in-person summer as possible! Here is a TENTATIVE schedule! Give us a bit longer and we'll get registration and everything out as soon as we have it available.

  • Babysitting Clinic - (May 24, 25, 26) 3 Days, morning OR afternoon sessions available
  • Clover Kid Camp - (June 2)
  • Adventure Day Camp - (June 4) With the crazy year Ponca Day Camp is not planned for this summer. But, of course, Stacey still wants to have camp. So, we are going to join up with Burt, Cuming, and Colfax counties to do Adventure Day Camp in West Point!
  • Design Decisions/Tie Dye Workshop - (June 10)
  • Ozobots - (June 14) Clover Kid session in the morning, 8+ in the afternoon
  • Intern Surprise Workshop - (June 15)
  • Robotics - (June 16-17)
  • InVenture Day - Entrepreneurship Workshop (June 22-23)
  • Cake Decorating Workshop - (June 24)
  • Leadership Summit - (July 7)

Thurston Summer Intern!

We have hired Allison Claussen as our summer intern for 2021! We're excited for her to join us and learn what Extension is all about!

2021 Nebraska 4-H Summer Camps!

Want to spend a week of your summer enjoying the outdoors, trying new activities and making new friends?! Join us at Nebraska 4-H Camps for summer 2021! Our summer camp is located in the middle of the Sandhills in the beautiful Nebraska National Forest near Halsey. Our week-long overnight camp programs are open to all youth ages 8-15. You do not need to be a member of 4-H to attend camp (invite all of your friends to join!). We also have leadership opportunities and jr. counselor positions available for ages teens ages 15-18. A typical week at 4-H Camp includes a variety of outdoor adventure activities such as canoeing, zipline, high ropes course, archery, crafts, campfires and more! Charter bus transportation options will also be offered select weeks from UNL East campus in Lincoln or Raising Nebraska in Grand Island.

For more information and full camp descriptions please view the electronic 4-H Camp brochure:

Please reach out to the Camp Program Director, Katie Zabel, with any questions!

Big Red Camps!

Registration for Big Red Camps is open! We will be pushing out information on the Big Red Camps Facebook page. We do have a landing page with information and registration on our website This lists general information as well as camp specific information. Various scholarships are available and links to that information can also be found on the site. If anyone has any questions, please let me know. We would appreciate it if you would share out and like the information posted out via social media in the coming weeks.

If you are unfamiliar with Big Red Camps, they are residential, career exploration camps held at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. By participating in a camp, youth get the opportunity to explore the Nebraska campus, meet people from across the country, spend time investigating an interest or potential career, and have a lot of fun! During the week-long camps, participants will work with our university faculty to explore the topic of their particular camp. New this year, we are adding in some fun and engaging professionalism and employability skills programming throughout part of our time together, and youth participants will be able to earn a digital badge to add to future scholarship applications and their own resume. After spending several fun-filled days on campus, participants' families are invited to attend a special capstone event where youth showcase their achievements. Big Red Camps will take place the week of June 13-18, 2021. Early bird registration ends on April 5, 2021. Topics and costs vary so please visit the website for more information.

Announcing the 2021 4-H Project of the Year Featuring TEC Box Educational Kit

Nebraska 4-H is thrilled to announce the first-ever Project of the Year, focused upon Entrepreneurship and featuring the TEC Box Educational Kit! The Project of the Year provides the perfect 4-H Club project and is also a great way for new youth and families to get started in 4-H.

This year’s Educational Kit introduces youth to the exciting world of entrepreneurship through the TEC Box curriculum! The kit includes the curriculum and materials youth need to complete four hands-on activities. The activities help youth think for themselves, practice empathy and solve problems as they learn about entrepreneurship. Youth will invent their own product to make bicycles safer and develop a new game that can be enjoyed with family and friends. These activities and lessons lay the groundwork for a county and state fair eligible exhibit: Class F531006 - Entrepreneurship Challenge.

The TEC Box Educational Kit includes a printed facilitator guide and one youth workbook, inflatable 4-H kickball, sports cones, washi tape, felt, yarn, pipe cleaners, foam, and dice. Kits are only $25 plus shipping and may be ordered through the UNL Marketplace.

A social media post announcing the 2021 4-H Project of the Year will be shared this afternoon from Nebraska 4-H; please reshare it through your 4-H social media channels.

If you have any questions regarding kit contents and ordering, feel free to contact Tracy Pracheil (; if you have any questions regarding the TEC Box curriculum, feel free to contact Jacie Milius (

Computer Science Summer Camp

The Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is pleased to announce a summer learning opportunity for high school students. We are hosting “Innovate: The Raikes School Way” and “Girls Who Innovate: The Raikes School Way”, computer science camps that will be led by Executive Director of the Raikes School, Steve Cooper. This opportunity was highlighted in a 2019 Forbes article, "STEM-Focused Summer Programs for Ambitious High School Students".

Students will participate in a two-week, project-based, overnight camp, where they will:

  • Learn basic programming skills, primarily Java, and innovation concepts
  • Receive instruction from faculty members and experience what classes can be like in the Raikes School
  • Visit campus research labs and local businesses
  • Interact with Raikes School students and staff, all of whom play a key role in the competitive selection process to our program each year

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 and, if necessary, transition this experience to a day camp to ensure the health and safety of participants.

What: “Innovate: The Raikes School Way” & “Girls Who Innovate: The Raikes School Way”

For: High School Students (primarily the graduating class of 2022)

Where: Kauffman Academic Residential Center, home of the Raikes School in the heart of Nebraska's City Campus

When: July 11-24, 2021

Cost: $1,300 (Need-based scholarship opportunities are available. Cost covers all housing, meals, instruction, and activities associated with the camp)

Programming Experience: None needed (in fact, no experience is preferred)

Application Deadline: April 16, 2021

Please consider sharing this invitation with interested students, as well as teachers or community partners who may encourage students to apply.

Interested students are able to find more details and application materials at A promotional flyer is also linked here. The video below, captured at our 2018 camp, gives you a glimpse of what students can expect to experience.

If you have any questions about the camp, please email me at

Fair Information

Dakota-Thurston County Fair Store

Here is the link for the online Dakota Thurston County Fair store. The store will remain open until July 7th. All merchandise will only be available for pick up at the Fair Office on clean-up day and then throughout Fair week. Only limited short sleeve shirts sizes will be available for purchase at Fair. Be sure to shop online for the product you want!

2021 Nebraska State Fair and Aksarben Stock Show Livestock Update: BVD Testing

We have just been informed that the Nebraska State Fair has removed the BVD testing for cattle prior to arrival at the Fair. This requirement also has been removed for cattle exhibiting at the AKSARBEN Stock Show. We will continue to pass along more information as it becomes available.

NEW State Fair Livestock Classes and Divisions!!

It is with great excitement that Nebraska 4-H will be offering new livestock classes and divisions at the 2021 Nebraska State Fair! With the decision to shift 4-H and FFA livestock shows to the two different weekends, this provided the opportunity to offer new shows and programs for 4-H.

Here’s what is NEW!


  • Entry Limit: 4-H members will now be eligible to show up to a total of five goats maximum, if at least two are breeding does. In no case will a 4-H member exhibit more than three market goats.


  • Entry Limit: 4-H members will now be eligible to show up to a total of five sheep maximum, if at least two are breeding ewes. In no case will a 4-H member exhibit more than three market lambs.
  • Minimum entry for breed classes will be 3 instead of 5


  • NEW: Breeding Gilt Show
  • NEW: Purebred Market Classes
  • NEW: Farrowed and Owned Breeding and Market Swine
  • Entry Limit: A 4-H member is limited to exhibiting three market hogs and two breeding gilts


  • NEW: Feeder Calf Show
    • Revised Minimum Age: Born between January 1 through April 2021
  • NEW: Junior Breeding Heifer Class
  • Entry Limit: A 4-H member is limited to exhibiting up to five beef animals. A 4-H'er can exhibit up to two market beef, three breeding heifers and two feeder calves as long as the total number of entries does not exceed five beef animals.

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Family Responsibilities:

  1. Exhibitors will be required to enroll in 4-H and the required projects by the county deadline in 4H Online.
  2. Exhibitors showing market animals at State Fair must have a signed and sealed official DNA envelope with hair samples for DNA verification turned into their county office and have completed the online nomination in Show Stock Manager along with submitting payment online by June 15. Any animal carrying an 840 EID tag will require the exhibitor to obtain a Premises ID. Contact the local Extension Office for details. (It is recommended that you make a copy or a photo image of completed envelope you turn into your county.)
  3. Exhibitors showing breeding beef, breeding swine, breeding sheep and breeding goats at State Fair will need to complete an online nomination along with submitting payment online in Show Stock Manager by the June 15 deadline.
  4. Exhibitors will be required to complete Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) for the enrolled livestock projects by the August 10.
  5. Exhibitors will notify the County Extension Staff of any retags that may occur up to time of check-in at the State Fair.
  6. Exhibitors will select which animal nominations they have chosen to show at State Fair on the State Fair entry website. All nominated and validated animals will be automatically listed as a choice option for entry registration.
  7. Exhibitors will be required to bring the breed registration association paperwork to check-in at State Fair for animals wanting to show in a breed class. The registration papers must show the exhibitor’s name, a co-owner who is an immediate member of the exhibitor’s family or the family farm, ranch name or parent’s name.

Dakota-Thurston Fairbook Available SOON!

We've been in a transition with our digital files here in Extension! Once we get everything back the 4-H section of the Fairbook will be available online! Promise, it's coming SOON!!

NEW Fairbook Classes

Once the fairbook is available be sure to check out some changes/new classes.

  1. Rabbit Classes - changed to make organization when it comes time for the show easier!
  2. Clover Kid Classes - we've tried to make things funnel and reflect more of the traditional 4-H projects! We hope you all take advantage of the new classes!
  3. Lego Design Classes - Under Science, Engineering & Technology we've added classes where you can bring your Lego creations to fair and tell us all about what you learned in the process.

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Continuing Education

Thurston County 4-H Council Senior Scholarship

Congratulations to our 2021 recipient: Ashley Ostrand!

She is a senior at Pender High School and we are so proud of her and all her accomplishments!

4-H Projects

Call for 4-H Photography

Whether it’s your favorite photo you’ve taken this fall or one you took to the county fair, we want to see it! Submit your favorite photo for a chance to be showcased. The 4-H photography showcase offers members a project exhibition opportunity beyond traditional print media. 4-H’ers are invited to submit their favorite photo they’ve taken for a chance to have it showcased online for thousands of 4-H fans to admire.

Link to more info: Nebraska 4-H Photography Showcase

Online Horticulture Judging Contest

The on-line horticulture contest will be offered June 4-21st 2021. Below is a blurb for newsletters. Let me know if you have any questions. Elizabeth

Do you know what it takes to pick the best fruit and vegetables out at the grocery store? Or do you know what judges are looking for when they judge your plants at the county fair? Have you ever wondered, what plant is that!?! We are excited to offer the opportunity to learn these and other important horticulture skills through the Online Horticulture Contest. The contest will be available June 4-21, 2021 at:

Horticulture judging contest consists of three parts. The first is identification of plant material. Participants identify the plants by common name from a plant list. Specimens may be alive or preserved plant parts like stems, twigs, leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots, bulbs, tubers, or plant products.

The second is a knowledge portion, usually in the form of a true/false or multiple choice quiz. Questions will test the contestant's knowledge of cultural practices for horticultural crops, plant science, pesticides, horticultural careers and other topics related to the production, processing and consumption of horticultural crops.

The last portion is judging or placings. This is where four different plants, plates of vegetables, or containers flowers are ranked from best to worst based on a set of criteria. Classes are judged on the basis of condition, quality, uniformity, true-to-type, and size.

More details at:

More information about the Nebraska State contest can be found in the Fairbook .

4-H Plant and Insect Identification Contest

If you like plants and/or insects, here’s your opportunity to build skills and have fun too!

Attend to participate in one, two, three or all four contests!

Your interest - your choice! Bring a friend too!

4-H’ers may earn a trip to a state and/or national contest!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Agricultural Park Exhibit Hall Club Room, Fairgrounds - 822 15th Street, Columbus NE

(Entrance to Ag Park is at intersection of 10th Av. and 15th St.)

12:15 – Welcome and Instructions

12:30 PM - Horticulture Judging, I.D. & Quiz

1:45 PM - Tree Identification

2:35 PM – BREAK with Refreshments

2:45 PM - Entomology (Insect) Identification

3:45 PM - Grass and Weed Identification


Identify plant/insect samples for each contest. For horticulture, there is also 4 judging classes (vegetables, fruits, flowers, nursery stock). Study materials available at For information, contact your local Extension office or Kelly Feehan at or 402-563-4901.

Register here:

Animal Science & Agriculture

Upcoming Livestock Shows

  • April 24, 2021, 21ST ANNUAL SEWARD CALF CLASSIC, Seward County Fairgrounds
  • May 26, 2021, PITZER HORSE JUDGING CONTEST, Pitzer Ranch Arena, Ericson, NE
  • June 13, 2021, HUSTLER PROGRESS SHOW, Cuming County Fairgrounds, West Point, NE
  • June 20, 2021, PLATTE COUNTY SWINE PROGRESS SHOW, Ag park, Columbus, NE

Beginning Shepherd Program

May 1st in Pierce

The Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers and Nebraska Extension are offering a new educational program geared toward new sheep producers. The speakers and topics for the program are:

  • Marty Stewart – Sheep Basics/Choosing Your Flock
  • Rhonda McClure – All About Wool
  • Ivan Rush – Feeding the Flock
  • Randy Saner – Grazing a Flerd
  • Rachel Gibb -Beginning Flock Health
  • Michael Littlefield - Shearing Demonstration
  • Sheep Producer Panel & Hoof Trimming Demonstration

The program will be held at the Pierce County Fairgrounds at the Veggie Palace/4-H Livestock area in Pierce Nebraska. Registration will start at 8:30 am.

Pre-registration will save you $10. To preregister contact Mellisa Nicholson at (308) 386-8378 or

Fonner Park 4-H State Horse Expo Reservation Notification!

The State 4-H Horse Program would like to notify counties and their 4-H families to book their hotel reservations soon if they plan to attend/participate at the 2021 Fonner Park 4-H State Horse Expo. This year the Horse Expo (July 10th - 14th) is scheduled on the same dates as the National Jr. Angus Show. Since both events are happening at the same time, we HIGHLY recommend families are notified about the limited hotel availability during the state horse show. We would like to give families plenty of warning so they are not struggling to book hotels closer to our event.

We have blocked off a limited number of rooms with the Fairfield Inn hotel for 4-H families. Please see below for more information.

Attached below is the link to share with your families to make their reservations online. They are also more than welcome to call hotel directly at 308-381-8980.

Book your group rate for State 4H Horse Show

You will find the information for your online reservation link below. If you have questions or need help with the link, please do not hesitate to ask. We appreciate your business and look forward to a successful event.

Event Summary:

State 4H Horse Show

Start Date: Sunday, July 11, 2021

End Date: Thursday, July 15, 2021

Last Day to Book: Friday, March 19, 2021

Hotel(s) offering your special group rate:

  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Grand Island for 120 USD per night

Book your group rate for State 4H Horse Show


There are also changes to the Camper/RV areas for the 4-H State Horse Expo!

Due to the increased number of requests for Camper Hookups during the Fonner Park State 4-H Horse Show. Fonner Park and the 4-H Horse program have developed the following guidelines for the show.

  • NEW THIS YEAR (2021)!! Reservations must be made DIRECTLY with Fonner Park due to another large livestock event coinciding with ours. Call Kathy at (308) 382-4515 ext. 213 to reserve your space.
  • Camper Parking will be on the north side of the grounds along Fonner Park Rd. in the RV Park.
  • Fonner Park requests NO camper/living quarter trailers be on the ground prior to noon, Friday before the start of the show on Saturday.
  • Parking will be available afternoon on Friday. HOWEVER trailers/campers cannot be left unattended to prevent theft and vandalism to your property as this has been an issue in the past.
  • A $35 fee per day will be charged for all trailer/campers throughout the Horse Expo.

UNL Livestock Judging Camp

June 9-11, Lincoln, NE

The UNL Livestock Judging Camp is designed for 4-H and FFA members looking to improve their livestock evaluation and oral reason skills. Activities will focus on proper evaluation with an emphasis on reasons format, terminology,

and presentation.

Registration is $300 per person and includes all meals, lodging, and materials. The registration deadline is May 21.

Questions? Contact

Blaine French at,


2021 Tractor Safety Training

All youth aged 14 and 15 who work on a farm or ranch other than their own MUST be certified through a Hazardous Occupations Course to obtain a Farm Husbandry Permit or “farm permit” without further testing.

Successful completion of this training in Nebraska will allow youth to operate a tractor over 20 horsepower, and connect or disconnect an implement or any of its parts to or from a tractor. Students of any age over 13 may complete the driving course in any of the following locations after successful online class completion:

June 7 – Akrs Equipment, 49110 US Hwy 20 in O’Neill

Contact Debra Walnofer, 402.336.2760,

June 8 – Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail #8500 in Gering

Contact Stacy Brown, 308.632.1480,

June 9 – West Central Research & Education Center, 402 West State Farm Rd., North Platte

Contact Randy Saner or Vicki Neidhardt 308.532.2683,

June 10 – Hall County Extension, 3180 Hwy 34, Grand Island

Contact Crystal Beissenherz, 308.385.5088,

June 11 – Cass County Fairgrounds, 8420 144th St, Weeping Water

Contact Sandy Prall, 402.267.2205,

For more information or to register, contact the appropriate Extension staff member above. 2021 Tractor Safety Registration Form

The Tractor Safety Training team has decided that if a family is having difficulty with the $40 registration fee for our course, we will provide waivers to cover the fee. We do not want anyone missing out because of monetary difficulties. Safety is first priority.

2021 Nebraska District 4-H Horse Shows

2021 Districts Dates and Sites:

June 14- Scottsbluff

June 15- Burwell

June 16- Columbus

June 17- Lincoln

June 18- McCook

Districts Webpage-

We are excited for our 2021 year! Thank you to the extension offices that will be hosting our District Locations!

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2021 4-H State Dog Show

Mark your calendars and reserve your hotel rooms!

The 2021 4-H State Dog Show will be BACK at the Nebraska State Fair this year! More information regarding the show can be found on the State Dog show webpage ( & the Nebraska State Fair webpage (

4-H Dog Achievement Program

The program consists of levels that require a young person to plan and report a broad range of age-appropriate accomplishments. For each level, the Dog Achievement program provides a list of accomplishments from which 4-H youth choose their goals. The accomplishments increase in quantity and difficulty for each level. At the beginning of the 4-H year, participants plan what to accomplish and at the end of the 4-H year, they report on their completed accomplishments. Successful completion of a level's Plan & Report form results in a 4-H youth earning that level of the Dog Achievement program.

More information can be found at:

For any questions, contact Grace Kim at

It is recommended on the program page that Plan & Report Forms should be to county offices at least 1 month prior to the county awards night for youth to be recognized.

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