When Hacienda de los Milagros Burro Rescue needed a helping hand, the Chino Valley Breakaway Latigos 4-H club came to their, well, rescue.
The non-profit burro refuge, which is home to more than 100 abandoned burros, mules and horses, relies on volunteers for most of its cleaning. The Latigos, a UACE 4-H club, saw the chance for a meaningful community service project, so the kids spent three days shoveling out stalls, tossing hay, feeding animals and scraping algae from water troughs.
The Latigos 4-H youth development club in the small town near Prescott doesn't tally hours for community service. Instead, club members pick a project and work on it until it's done, said 4-H youth development instructional specialist Michelle Stevens of the Yavapai County Cooperative Extension. "We really want the community service projects to have meaning, rather than just putting in hours," Stevens said.
The Latigos club's community service work – and 4-H in general – is clearly getting the message across to Yavapai County youth, if Grant Batzli is any indication. "I've learned respect. I've learned a good work ethic. I've learned to manage my time and my money. It's taught me so many valuable lessons I can use when I'm an adult. I'm really grateful for that," said the 14-year-old who helped sling hay at the burro rescue.
Elise Batzli, 12, who also helped with the burro rescue spring-cleaning, agreed with her brother that 4-H community service projects enrich members.
"It gives kids a great opportunity," she said. "It gives them friends, and it gives them something to be proud of at the end of the year."