WVU extension agent Craig Presar discusses the extension service's program offerings Thursday at Upshur County Commission's regular meeting.

WVU Extension Service requests $101K for programs from county

BUCKHANNON – Upshur County currently has eight active 4-H clubs – and more than 150 kids enrolled in 4-H programs in Upshur County.

Craig Presar with the WVU Extension Office and 4-H Youth Development agent attended Thursday’s Upshur County Commission meeting to present their budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year and discuss the various programs they work with across the county.

Presar presented the proposed budget to the commissioners, asking for a total of $101,078.46 in funding. The commission said in the next week or two, there will be budgetary meetings where they will approve or deny this recommendation.

In the meantime, Presar provided an overview of the programs 4-H orchestrates.

“We’ve got eight 4-H clubs in Upshur County right now, we had one of our large clubs closed,” Presar said. “There wasn’t anything bad that happened; our leader had just been doing it for 25 years, and her children are all grown up and grandbabies are in California, and she just needed need to take a step back. She has done her time and we thank her for that. She was unable to find volunteers who were able to commit time to run a such a club.”

He said the members of that group have been absorbed by other clubs in the area, with well over 150 kids enrolled in clubs across the county.

“Our big shining success story right now that I’m telling everybody about, is our shooting sports program,” Presar said. “I’ve I talked about that a lot with you guys, but just this last weekend, we had eight kids from Upshur County represent Upshur County in the state 4-H air rifle tournament.”

(For more on the tournament, check out My Buckhannon’s full story here.)

“We’ve got 188 kids involved in shooting sports, between air rifles and archery, and our archery teams are on pace to win state or have the ability to win state championships at both the middle school and high school level,” Presar said.

He said his next big project for the year is a project in conjunction with NASA called “Sky’s the Limit.”

“I get training on that in April, and it’s going to allow me to go through third to fifth grades here in Upshur County, and we’re going to be designing drones,” Presar said. “We’re going to be designing models of flying technologies that help NASA collect photographs – aerial photographs.”

In addition, Presar said the team leadership program for this year is going to focus on leadership with community service.

“We’re asking each team leader to do some type of community service project, and it’s not going to be just donating food to a food drive or doing one volunteer shift at the animal shelter,” Presar said. “It’s going to be coordinating some type of event for a program designed to benefit our community.”

He said they expect to have about 90 projects through their Youth Livestock Organization, with about 49 kids signed up.

“We coordinate with FFA instructors do the youth Livestock Association, so it’s not an extension program, but we’re supported by extension,” Presar said.

Presar said they are hoping to find another space for the organization, which would provide additional room to grow.

“The commission was generous enough to help us locate a facility area to build a facility and that facility is wonderful, but it’s in a place where there’s no parking and we’re down over a hill,” Presar said. “There’s not really a whole lot of room to grow, so we are in the process of actively looking for ground and spaces affordable for us and we’re looking for grants and things to pay for that.”

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