(Tim Jaynes, Staff)
For the past three years, the fish fry has been held to offset office costs as part of a budget crunch, said Jeff House, agronomy specialist and county program director.
"We've since overcome that and have the chance to help get a 4-H youth assistant in this county," House said.
Clara Green, 4-H youth specialist, currently coordinates the organizations in four counties, including New Madrid.
"The organization itself is stretched to the limit and I just can't do it all," Green said. "I need an assistant to maintain the local program -- I can't be there all the time."
An assistant would be more available to take and answer questions from members, Green said. Plus, having a close-to-home representative may encourage more membership.
"Just to have a face there in the county will spur interest, I think," Green said.
The Columbia 4-H office will allocate money for the assistant, House said. "We just need to come up with some matching funds," he said. "The more people we get to come through, the more we can tell if we've got support for a 4-H program in this county."
Green said she'd like to see a big crowd, too, especially former 4-H members. "It would be kind of nice for everybody to come in and talk about the old times," she said.
Extension council member Robert Henry and one of his friends will fry the fish. "We did over 150 pounds last year," House noted.
And 4-H members from the four-county area will serve the food. "That's what we're all about -- helping out each other," Green said.
On its Web site, 4-H describes itself as "a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills."
While the club still does traditional activities, such as cooking and advanced classes, it's also keeping up with the pace of technology to keep interest amongst youth. "It ain't all cows and cooking anymore," Green said, adding new courses include those dealing with GPA and robotic. "We're just moving right along with the rest of the world."