4-H opens doors for area youth
When she joined 4-H club as a high school freshman, Mikayla Maijala was seeking to be more involved with her animals -- four dogs, two horses, two cats and 30 rabbits.
When she joined 4-H club as a high school freshman, Mikayla Maijala was seeking to be more involved with her animals - four dogs, two horses, two cats and 30 rabbits.
She started by attending the Horses R Us club in Lake Nebagamon.
"I was really shy, I didn't know anybody," said Maijala, 18. "My animals kind of helped me open up."
Bringing her horses to the fair that summer, she was impressed with how nice everyone was and the way everybody pitched in.
"They work together and they're willing to help you out," said Maijala, who lives in Poplar.
She joined the Tigers Pride club to train her German Shepherd, and has since launched a monthly club of rabbit enthusiasts. She's junior leader for the club.
"I want to be involved more and more," Maijala said. "It's so much fun."
In 2015, she earned a trophy for entering the most projects in the annual Head of the Lakes Fair. The 68 entries ran the gamut from animals to writing, photography and early childhood.
"I pretty much tried every project just to see what I liked," the teen said. "Why not fill up the project barn at the fair?"
Last summer, there was the possibility that the rabbit barn at the fair wouldn't open up. With her mother, a 4-H leader and friends, Maijala stepped up to run it for the week.
"It was a lot of responsibility, but a lot of fun," she said. "We got a lot of kids interested in the rabbit club."
Now a business student at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Maijala found that her involvement with 4-H has opened doors.
"It looks great on your college applications, work applications," she said.
She said both of her employers to date have commented on her 4-H experience when she was hired.
Maijala is also an entrepreneur. She runs Blue Sky Rabbitry, a home-based business raising Holland lop and mini lop rabbits. For more information on the business, visit the Blue Sky Rabbitry Facebook page.
For more information on Douglas County 4-H clubs, visit douglas.uwex.edu/4h/4-h-clubs or call UW-Extension at 715-395-1363.
4-H project night
Douglas County 4-H clubs will band together to host a special project night 6:15-8:15 p.m. Monday at Northwestern High School in Maple. Students interested in joining can meet leaders, learn about projects, attend workshops and get help registering.
Douglas County has eight regular clubs as well as a number of after-school clubs open to youngsters in kindergarten through the year following high school graduation. The annual fee is $5. Members can choose from more than 80 different projects to show at the fair, which will be held from July 11-16 this year. Or they can enjoy participating in the club without entering anything.
Adult volunteers interested in mentoring 4-H members with projects can also be certified during project night.
Although there are leaders for big 4-H projects like horses and dog training, Maijala found there was a lack of mentors for other activities like rabbits and photography. She stepped in to help mentor others with rabbits, and encouraged adults in the community to volunteer as mentors for other 4-H projects.
This is her last year as a club member, but it won't be Maijala's last year with the program.
"I plan after college to be a 4-H leader," she said. "I love 4-H."
Everyone is invited to the 4-H Project Night 6:15-8:15 p.m. Monday at Northwestern High School.