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Little Roots 4-H club begins to blossom in Williamson County


MARION, Ill.— There’s something downright fun about digging in the dirt, and that’s exactly what happened with local youth as part of the Little Roots club that met at the Boyton Street Community Center over the summer. Little Roots is a Cloverbud club for youth ages 5-7 designed to meet kids’ developmental needs through creativity and play.

4-H volunteer Rhonda Parton led the club meetings as young 4-H members learned about the plant life cycle, where food comes from, and gardening. They got their hands dirty as they planted various plants, including radishes, tomatoes, sweet peppers, sunflowers, zinnias, and pumpkins. 4-H Extension Program Coordinator Ramona Girtman has been pleased with the success of the club’s first year.

“Seeing the excitement and pride our Little Roots club members have when they harvest and share what they planted is absolutely heartwarming. They put in a lot of hard work and were able to share their knowledge and bounty with others. That’s exactly what 4-H is about – offering a sense of community, giving kids opportunities to learn by doing, and celebrating their success,” said Girtman.

In the tradition of regular 4-H exhibits and shows, the kids had their own flower show during a recent meeting. They picked their favorite flowers or vegetables, created a floral arrangement, and shared what they learned with our “judge” Local Foods and Small Farms Program Coordinator Maggie Ray. Following the show, all kids at Boyton Street Community Center were invited to tour the garden and pick any flowers or vegetables that they wanted. Extension staff and the club leader answered gardening questions, and the children also learned how pumpkins grow.

The 4-H New Year kicks off on September 1. It’s a great time for local youth to get involved with the Little Roots club or any other 4-H program offered in our region. To learn more about Williamson County 4-H, contact Ramona Girtman at (618) 993-3304 or

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, please contact Ramona Girtman at requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

WRITER: Heather Willis, marketing and communications coordinator,, (618) 357-2126

SOURCE: Ramona Girtman, 4-H youth development program coordinator,, (618) 993-3304

ABOUT 4-H: Illinois 4-H helps youth learn skills for living. University of Illinois Extension provides 4-H programs in every county in Illinois. Illinois 4-H impacts the lives of 200,000 youth each year through sustained learning clubs and groups and short-term programming.

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.