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Gallatin County 4-H seeks multi-use facility to call home

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 12 2013 11:56:53 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Scott Francis has been involved with Gallatin County 4-H for 10 years.  He says the organization touches lives.

"It gives kids an opportunity to become better people...I know I'm a better person because of it," says Francis.

From leather craft and foods to shooting sports and robotics, 4-H reaches over 700 kids in Gallatin County alone.

"I've met more people in 4H across the state than I have through sports or school or anything else," says 4-H Youth Instructor Barry Francis.

But there's something missing- a multi-use facility to house their programs.

"If we don't have enough space that there's some projects that we just can't do," explains Scott.

With 25 projects, 20 clubs and 12 committees, 4-H has to find 14 meeting places a week to hold their events.

"That tool box, that's heavy.  That had to go up two flights of stairs...We can't take it down and set up this every time.  That's two hours in and of itself, at least," explains 4-H participant Nicki Dayton.

Scott Francis agrees.

"One of our biggest struggles is finding facilities for the multiple projects to meet.  It's very, very difficult to have to pick materials up and move them from location 'A' to location 'B'," says Francis.

Yet, folks with 4-H say it's more than just a little inconvenient.

"Unfortunately, we don't have the maximum amount of time with those kids that are involved in those projects," says Scott.

As a volunteer organization operated on donations, even the money that goes towards renting a temporary facility can set them back.

"As we do our fundraisers to run our programs, that money is pretty much earmarked," says Scott Francis.

That's why they say they're hoping to gain the support of folks who see the value in their programs.  So they can continue serving kids for centuries to come.
     
Representatives with Gallatin County 4-H say their ideal facility would be between 20 to 30 acres.
    
It would have a shooting sports range with a storage room and include a large, open meeting room with several smaller rooms for project meetings.
     
They say the space would have a kitchen, conference room, indoor horse arena and parking.
     
If you have any ideas for potential partners you can contact MSU/ Gallatin County 4-H Extension Agent Danica Jamison at 388-3213.