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Creating alternative forms of fun





Nearly 200 kids from Hays USD 489 after-school programs played carnival games and learned new facts about 4-H on Monday afternoon at Fort Hays State University's Gross Memorial Coliseum.

There were shrieks and giggles as children collected winning tickets from carnival games to redeem for prizes. A group of Wilson Elementary students waited in line for the bean bag toss game and compared how many tickets each had.

When asked which was their favorite game, one kindergartner answered quickly, "My favorite is all of them."

This is the first year a FHSU leadership studies fieldwork class team has facilitated the carnival, which team member Stephen McIntyre said he hopes will increase enrollment in Ellis County's 4-H program.

Other team members include leadership studies students Jackie McKune, Candice Wagstrom, Jared Hall and Shelly Vandiver.

Approached by 4-H volunteers Rae Smith and Donna Maskus at the beginning of fall semester, McIntyre said a goal of the project was to show the leadership concepts involved in 4-H membership.

Team members Hall and McKune originated the idea of a carnival, and McIntyre said others "all jumped on board with it."

Carnival games centered around several topics: wildlife, agriculture, technology, entomology, shooting sports, physical fitness and pets. Local 4-H volunteers were on hand to help with games.

Smith and Maskus were there helping children create bug snacks using non-bug ingredients such as dried fruit and pretzels.

Team member Wagstrom, taking a break from leading kids from one game to the next, said the event was a success.

"The kids are having a lot of fun," she said. "We're hoping it (the event) will improve in the years to come."