County 4-H group completes trip

WORTHINGTON -- While it may not have been the traditional exchange trip Nobles County 4-H'ers had intended, they made the most of their four days in western and central Pennsylvania recently.

WORTHINGTON -- While it may not have been the traditional exchange trip Nobles County 4-H'ers had intended, they made the most of their four days in western and central Pennsylvania recently.

The trip was the culmination of nearly two years of planning that was to involve hosting 4-H'ers from Pennsylvania in 2007, and being hosted by that same group in 2008.

But last summer, just two weeks before the Pennsylvania 4-H'ers were to arrive in Nobles County, they backed out. Though it was too late for Nobles County to make contact with another county or state, the group forged ahead with fundraising for their trip.

"We gave the kids a choice if they still wanted to continue on going to Pennsylvania or pick another place," said Naomi Lubben, a 4-H parent and adult leader, and co-coordinator of Nobles County Interstate Exchange with her sister and fellow 4-H mom Miriam Cunningham. The 14 youth members opted to head to Pennsylvania, and were accompanied by four adult leaders on the excursion.

They left Worthington the evening of July 1 on Reading Bus Lines, traveling straight through to Pennsylvania.


Along the way they took a slight detour from their travel itinerary to visit the memorial crash site of United Airlines flight 93 near Shanksville, Pa.

The stop was the most meaningful part of the trip for Stephanie Lubben of the Indian Lake Progressives 4-H Club. Lubben, who has been a part of Nobles County Interstate Exchange experiences for six years, said it was interesting to see what people had left behind as a memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

As her last Interstate Exchange experience before she graduates from 4-H in 2009, Lubben said she has enjoyed the travel opportunities.

"I thought (this) trip was really fun," she said. "I had a good time with everybody and being able to come closer to other 4-H friends. You get to learn a lot about other 4-H cultures -- about other areas of the United States."

The group spent their second day in Pennsylvania at Hershey Chocolate World, where they toured the chocolate factory and watched a 3D chocolate show.

The Hershey Amusement Park was a favorite of Brandon Weidert, 15, of the Grand Prairie Rockets 4-H club. Weidert lives on a dairy farm and hasn't had too many opportunities to travel. This was his first Interstate Exchange experience, and he plans on signing on again for the next two-year program.

"I thought it was a lot of fun," he said. "You get to meet new people from other clubs, and where we went was a lot of fun, too."

Weidert most enjoyed Hershey Chocolate World, where the 4-H group got to watch as Hershey kisses were being made in the chocolate factory.


Amanda Wilkening of the Graham Lake Braves club also rated the visit to Hershey as her favorite.

"Then we saw Gettysburg, which was really fun, too," Wilkening said of the following day, the Fourth of July. The group received a three-hour guided tour of the battlefield, and then spent time in the visitor's center and museum before touring former President Dwight Eisenhower's farm.

Due to the rain that day, the fireworks display they were to see at Gettysburg was cancelled.

On July 5, the 4-H'ers toured an Amish farm and house in Lancaster.

"It was just a tour of what Amish life would be like," Wilkening said. "We toured an Amish house and learned about the Amish heritage. That was cool to learn -- something different that you don't see around here."

After the stop in Lancaster, the group headed toward home with stops at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Lake Erie and the Hard Rock Café in Cleveland, Ohio.

With the exception of an initial $50 deposit made by each 4-H member, the cost of the trip was paid for through fundraising efforts. In nearly two years, they operated food booths at events like the Worthington Gun Show and Windsurfing Regatta. In addition, they compiled and sold a Nobles County 4-H Cookbook, filled with recipes from local 4-H'ers and alumni. The Worthington Optimists gave a donation to the group, and Hy-Vee Shop & Share funds were also received.

Naomi Lubben said the fundraising efforts will continue for the next group of Interstate Exchange participants. An organizational meeting is planned for September, with 4-H youths able to sign up until November. Among the ideas being considered for the next Interstate Exchange are counties in Kentucky, Florida, Virginia and Nevada.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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