The Black Bear 4-H Club was recently awarded the annual Crow Wing Power Touchstone Energy Commitment to Community Award for its dedication to serving the Nisswa area.
The club is celebrating its 22nd year of helping area youth learn and grow through project and service-based education. Currently there are 17 members in grades K-12.
While many people think of 4-H as an agriculture-heavy organization, members of the Black Bear club have worked on hands-on projects related to topics such as arts and crafts, photography, gardening and, more recently, robotics and STEM studies.
"We've seen the difference that being involved in 4-H makes in the lives of our young people," Cindy Terwilliger, organizational leader for Black Bear 4-H, said in a news release.
Many of the club’s service-learning projects have been in place for years and are ongoing. Ongoing projects in the 2019-2020 year include the Heritage Garden and Pioneer Village project, Fall Festival, City of Lights Festival, Clothes for Kids in Haiti, and cleanup and flower planting at the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce building.
New for the club in 2020 were the Hills Crossing Senior Living Facility project and making thank you bags as gifts for local fire departments.
“These 4-H members will grow up to be vital members of their community ... as they already are. The community is very proud of them," Terwilliger said.
"We want to teach our youth to be confident in their abilities, and to be able to learn," she said. "Leadership is one of the main areas we focus on."
She said the benefits gained from participating in 4-H wouldn't be possible without the support of parents.
"Our club is so blessed with great parent participation. Our parents make it possible to offer club members fun activities and learning opportunities. Active families are the reason the 4-H program will continue into the future," Terwilliger said.
“Award judges selected Black Bear 4-H among all the entries for this year’s award," Char Kinzer, Crow Wing Power public relations manager, said in the news release. “It was a very refreshing application to see all these young people doing such good deeds. I was pleased they were selected."
The club was awarded $500 and a plaque and will be entered in a statewide contest.