4-H Superstars preparing for college

4 HSuperstarschili cook-offSerrano Creek StablesLake Forest; Laguna Hills High SchoolEl Toro High School (Shirley Smith)

Shirley Smith

The Lake Forest 4-H Superstars of Orange County sponsored a chili cook-off and barn dance last Saturday night at the Serrano Creek Stables in Lake Forest.

“4-H is more than just animals, it’s hands-on learning for children 5-19 years of age,” said Superstars Club Leader Sheila Smith. “The focus is on getting those children ready for college in science, education and technology.”

Smith started the Lake Forest 4-H club in 1996 in her home when her daughter was young and continues to lead the general meetings for girls and boys at the El Toro Library every second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.

Victoria Slayvaugh, a 15 year-old cheerleader at Laguna Hills High School and the reining president, belongs to the dog, photography and horse projects.

“On Saturday we go out with our horse instructor who will teach us some of the basics,” Slayvaugh said. “Then on Friday we go and teach the basics to some of the younger kids. It’s actually really fun.”

The two chili cook-off judges were Frank Nix, with the Orange County Sheriff and Jim Rosenberg, City of Lake Forest Parks & Recreation Commissioner. Rosenberg was out for his 20-year wedding anniversary when he met Sheila Smith and offered his “chili tasting expertise.”

A gift certificate for Buffalo Wild Wings in Lake Forest was awarded to the winner Jane Buck.

Quinn Williams, a 14-year-old Mission Viejo High School student and club publicity officer, made and dispersed banners and flyers around the area.

“We want to recruit kids and help them get ready for college,” he said.

The 4-H organization holds a State Leadership Conference to help develop leadership skills for its 14- to 19-year-old members.

“Last year at the conference, 4 H just passed the 100 year mark,” Smith said. “And 95 years in Orange County.”

Slayvaugh also attended the conference last year and said,

“When I went to SLC last year, because of the centennial, I learned so much about the background and how to get more people involved in the club,” she said. “I made a ton of new friends there.”

Serrano Creek Stables owner, Matt Rayl, donated the property for the event and stopped by to make sure everything was going all right.

“I like to help as much as I can,” Rayl said. “We need to get the word out about this club.”

Most newcomers at the event, like Wendy Hunt, said they had lived in Lake Forest for 20-30 years and never knew they had a 4-H club.

For more information about 4-H, visit www.oc4h.org, for the SLC, 4h.ucanr.edu/Programs/Conferences/SLC and for Serrano Creek Ranch, www.serranocreekranch.com.

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