After a lengthy delay in the state’s response, Pershing County now has a new 4-H Club Youth Coordinator. Rebekah Dohl was selected by a local committee after three candidates were interviewed in September. The state university system pays part of the salary and had the final say in the decision.
Pershing County funds about 40 percent of what would be a full-time salary, while the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension pays about 20 percent, according to UNCE Educator Steve Foster. If state lawmakers increase that contribution, the job could go from 24 hours a week to full-time.
“They have submitted some enhancements for extension in the legislative budget,” Foster said.
In October, Dohl moved with her husband and four children from Battle Mountain to Lovelock. A former Marine, Jeremiah Dohl was hired as a cowboy by C Punch Ranch. The couple’s son and three daughters are attending the local schools and C Punch provided a house for the family, Dohl said.
“Before we lived an hour south of Battle Mountain in Antelope Valley, we were in Tuscarora,” she said. “My husband worked for Ellison Ranch as a cowboy and I worked at the school as a teacher’s aid.”
Dohl was previously involved with the 4-H Club as a volunteer leader in Tuscarora. Last year, one of her daughters raised a heifer calf as a member of the Lander County 4-H Club. Dohl said her daughter will continue to raise livestock as a member of the
Pershing County 4-H.
Dohl said she’ll keep regular 4-H Club office hours, plus she’ll participate in after-hours club activities.
“I’m here 24 hours a week. When I work three days a week, I plan to be here from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. When I work four days a week, I’ll be here from 8 a.m. to about 1 or 2 p.m. I have four kids at home, so Fridays aren’t ideal for work but if I need to come in, I can come in,” she said.
Dohl is originally from Pennsylvania and her parents still live there. There is a 4-H Club in that area but Dohl was involved in high school sports, not 4-H. That changed when she moved to Nevada.
“The best thing about 4-H is the kids have the opportunity to learn whatever they have a passion in,” she said. “They can continually develop their skills and learn so much about animals. My son, the first two years, did a sheep project. We didn’t know anything about sheep so we learned a lot that year.”
Raising and showing livestock requires discipline, money management and other life skills.
“I see the benefits of kids pushing themselves to raise and show animals and be successful in their endeavors,” Dohl said. “Kids can motivate themselves and learn whatever they want to learn.”
But, there’s more to 4-H than livestock. Other programs include scrapbooking, cooking, candy-making, martial arts, hot air ballooning, baseball, drama, sign language as well as the swine, goat, beef and sheep livestock clubs. Adult leaders are essential and the 4-H club can help with volunteer training.
“That’s almost the most important part of 4-H. If you don’t have volunteers to step up and lead the groups, then you don’t have a 4-H at all,” Dohl said. “We’re always looking for more volunteers. Even if they are not an expert in the project, they can always learn.”
Dohl hopes to expand the old programs and start new ones, such as a shooting sports program.
“They get to practice safe handling of weapons and get to learn about all the different types of weapons. Other counties have muzzle loaders and archery. They use air-soft guns, so it’s pretty safe,” she said. “It gets a different type of kid involved, not just the kids who want to raise livestock.”
“Interest cards” were distributed in the schools to invite student and parent participation, Dohl said. There is no cost to join and there may be help with program costs for low-income families, she said.
“We will do everything to help get their child involved without the cost. If we have people willing to sponsor kids, that would benefit the program and there are people willing to donate supplies.”
Dohl may organize a local program to raise and show small animals, like the one in Battle Mountain.
“I believe a small animal program would allow more city kids to get involved,” she said. “They could have small animals in their back yards or bedrooms and have some responsibility.”
Robotics is another possibility, but she’s looking for leaders to take on the challenge, Dohl said.
For the holiday season, there may be some 4-H Christmas caroling at the senior center and other places. There will be homemade 4-H candy at the library’s craft fair and there might be a 4-H float in the Parade of Lights. The club’s recent Halloween Party was a “big hit” and that may become an annual event.