June 2010
Featured Articles

JMG Tigers are Active in their West Blocton Community

 

The 4-H Tigers made scarecrows for their garden. The youth used recycled items for the scarecrows. Pictured from left are Ronnie Pearson, Mitch Smotherman, Marci Blackmon, Casey Blackmon, Nathan Morrison and 4-H Volunteer Teresa Smotherman.

Congratulations to the West Blocton 4-H JMG Tigers for being the June JMG Group of the Month. The JMG group is a community 4-H club located in West Blocton and has seven young people participating. The group began as an in- school 4-H club and later transitioned into an after-school club. Two years ago, they decided to focus on Junior Master Gardener (JMG). This group is led by three fabulous volunteers: Teresa Smotherman, Sid Smotherman and Bobbie Blackmon.

The West Blocton 4-H JMG Tigers have been very active in their community. This past fall, the youth worked on making natural holiday cards to give to the residents at the Bibb County Nursing Home. They also made table decorations for the residents to have in their rooms. An ongoing project for the JMG group is the construction and maintenance of the school garden at West Blocton Middle School. The group started the garden from hard, clay soils covered with grass and began to transform the area. Joy Maxwell, Regional Extension Agent 4-H for Bibb County, said the garden has beautified the front of the school as well as drawn interest from other students at the school. This year, the youth created tin man scarecrows for the garden. They recycled vegetable cans to build the scarecrows.

The front of West Blocton Middle School, before the 4-H Tigers decided to plant a garden.

 

Casey and Marci Blackmon assist 4-H Volunteer Sid Smotherman with the preparation of the garden.

Along with the garden the group keeps the front of the school and the road litter free. Maxwell stated the Bibb County Adopt A Mile program has donated $200 to the group for maintaining the road in front of the school. This money will be used for the young people to take a field trip during the summer. This very active group also participates in the Friends of the Cahaba River clean-up day along the Cahaba River.

The Tigers are not only active in their community, but also with local, regional and state 4-H events. Every year the JMG members participate in county and regional competitive events. The group traveled to Auburn University to participate in 4-H football day and 4-H basketball day. These statewide events allow the students to experience being on a college campus during a major sporting event. Maxwell said attending the sporting events is a great opportunity for the youth to see what college is all about.

West Blocton 4-H Tigers after a long day of preparing their garden.

 

  After all the hard work on beautifying the front of school, the West Blocton 4-H JMG Tiger members and volunteers are all smiles.

All of the events mentioned in the article have helped shape these young people into stronger people. Several of the participants started the program quiet and reserved. Throughout the program, Maxwell, the volunteer leaders and the school guidance counselor have all noticed how much more outgoing they have become. The group members have been out recruiting new members for their 4-H club. All of this would not be possible without the dedication of the volunteer leaders. One of the leaders, Mrs. Smotherman, is a science teacher at the middle school. While teaching and attending graduate school at the University of Montevallo, she has never missed a meeting or an event with the young people. She and the other two volunteers show exemplary dedication to 4-H, the participants and to their community.

Luci Davis is the State Junior Master Gardener Coordinator. For more information on the program, phone (334) 703-7509.