VAN WERT – For Van Wert County 4-H Extension director Heather Gottke,
Saturday’s second annual Craft and Vendor Show means more than raising
money for the 4-H treasury. It’s much deeper than that.
means helping 4-H counselors of Van Wert county to be able to go to 4-H
Camp and reach out to the kids that will be there,” said Gottke. “I get
just a little emotional when I think of the opportunity for staff and
4-Hers to go to camp. We do everything we can do to make sure that
everyone can go.”
Currently there are 37 vendors bringing
hand-made crafts and popular products to the Junior Fair Building from
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. In addition, an Easter bunny will be
there to greet the children, complete with a backdrop for family
pictures. Proceeds support 4-H camp counselors.
The combined total
cost for 4-H Camp for those from this area is $23,000, with an
individual cost of $170 per camper. While the craft show helps offset
some of the cost for camp, Gottke stressed that the Van Wert County
Foundation provides grant money for the camp. In addition, other sources
of income comes from local businesses and local supporters.
A second fund-raiser for camp is held through a Christmas Bazaar in December, Gottke said.
This year’s camp is held at Camp Palmer near Fayette and Harrison Lake.
kids that are volunteers range in age from 15-18. They do 24 hours of
training to go as camp counselors. Campers range in age from 8-years-old
to 15-years-old. This year’s camp will be held July 5-9,” said Gottke.
year, Gottke anticipates an attendance of 100 campers and 30 trained
counselors. Activities throughout the week include canoeing, crafts,
wall climbing, swimming, line dancing, nature center, zip line, lots of
nature-based instruction and managed shooting sports such as archery and
“We take a nurse with us,” said Gottke, who is personally
an EMT. “If there are any emotional or personal needs that come up, they
are referred to me.”
“I will address or seek help for any serious
needs that come up,” continued Gottke. “If there are special needs that
make it difficult for 4-Hers to go to camp, we will do everything we
can to get them there. It’s important to me that every child gets to
In addition to the craft show, also this weekend there will
be a 4-H Awards Banquet held at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday evening at the