The Lovelock 4-H community club gets ready to play Capture the Flag at McDougal Park on Tuesday evening. Back row left to right - Presley Burrows, Katelynn Elerick, Whitlee Diaz, Averie Paredes, Colton Diaz, Abigail Perez, Raegan Burrows (president), Wyatt Diaz, Blake Burrows and Jacob Burke.
Front row: Mary and Teancum McBride, Josh Elerick, Aaron Perez and Ian Paredes.
The Lovelock 4-H community club gets ready to play Capture the Flag at McDougal Park on Tuesday evening. Back row left to right - Presley Burrows, Katelynn Elerick, Whitlee Diaz, Averie Paredes, Colton Diaz, Abigail Perez, Raegan Burrows (president), Wyatt Diaz, Blake Burrows and Jacob Burke. Front row: Mary and Teancum McBride, Josh Elerick, Aaron Perez and Ian Paredes.
Pershing County 4-H Coordinator Colby Burke recalls a Eureka Moment. Over her years in Lovelock, she’s served on several scholarship committees. Graduating students earn thousands of dollars in scholarships every year.

“I noticed that applications are often weeded out because the student doesn’t have community service listed,” she said. “With liability in this day and age, it is not easy to find entities that will allow you to get community service.”

That’s one reason Burke resurrected the community club, a brainchild of Bailie Malay, a former coordinator. Once again, there are community clubs for 4-H members age five through 19 in both Imlay and Lovelock.

“They give students an opportunity to acquire community service. The members also learn the importance of civic duty while gaining leadership skills,” says Burke. Exercise and fresh air are part of the package, according to the self-described “farm girl.”

Last Tuesday, the Lovelock club met at McDougal Field to play Capture the Flag, a classic outdoor game. 

“It’s a lot of fun, especially when you have a lot of people,” says Whitlee Diaz, 11. Fifteen club members met at McDougal. Each team ventured onto the other side’s territory to grab their flag, hidden in the softball field.

“They definitely had a workout,” says Burke.

The clubs are just getting started but have already organized several events.

For starters, they picked apples from Doc (Bruce) Luke’s orchard in the Humboldt river ranch area. The Burrows family made apple crisp for dessert that night. Another 4-H family turned out candied apples. Others just savored the sweet juiciness, bite after bite. “Doc Luke” donated the rest of the fruit to the community.

“The members learned about apples, fruit, fruit trees, pollinators and had fun,” says Burke.

On Oct. 2, the Lovelock and Imlay clubs met at Safe Haven Wildlife Rescue. They cleared large rocks from the tour pathways, making them more accessible to people with baby strollers or walkers. The 4-Hers, their parents and leaders filled five tractor buckets full of rocks.

Afterward, the Safe Haven staff took the group on a tour of the 320-acre sanctuary. They met a menagerie of lions, tigers, bears, caracals and other animals.

“My favorite animals at Safe Haven are the foxes,” says Whitlee. “I like how cute and fluffy they are and how they talk.”

Safe Haven has four foxes – Marty, Oreo, Fritz and Largo. Foxes have a wide variety of calls to find mates, interact with rivals and communicate with their family groups.

The club members elect officers and follow parliamentary procedures in their meetings, choosing activities with support from their adult leaders. For example, next month they’ll make Christmas cards for nursing home residents and people serving in the military.

But first, comes Halloween. On Oct. 24, look for the Lovelock Community Club at the Cattlewomen Halloween Parade.

“This will be a fun-packed day,” says Burke. After the parade, she’ll host a scavenger hunt. Later, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., Leonna Bianchi’s craft club will make spiderweb balloons at the community center.

Lovelock’s parade starts at the train depot at 10 a.m. The children will proceed down Main Street to the courthouse park. It will be easy to spot Whitlee. She’s dressing up as a fox.