Thirty-nine years ago, at the ripe age of 19, Mike Rice signed the dotted line and became one of Linn County’s outstanding 4-H volunteers and the leader of the Putnam Pals 4-H Club, now named the Barnyard Buddies. During those years, he has served on the Linn County Swine Committee (various terms), and the Science, Mechanics and Arts Committee helping 4-H youth with those project areas by setting up workshops, helping at weigh-ins and being available for random project questions.
Mike’s leadership brings diversity in projects to the youth of the Barnyard Buddies. He guides members to try different types of projects in addition to the standard project choices. His club has a theme project each year where each member carries the same project – recently the Horticulture Project. He has guided his club members to take on a service learning project of planting and caring for a community garden, then donating the produce to the South East Area Community Center in Lisbon. The Barnyard Buddies contributed 372 pounds of fresh produce to the Center. Mike has also helped establish an Archery club and a Lego League group within in the Barnyard Buddies 4-H Club.
Mike promotes community service within his club. Just this spring, he coordinated two “clean up dates” within a week for his club to help clean up the streets of Mount Vernon and the Linn Grove Cemetery. He has a way of encouraging the youth to get involved in the community and have fun doing it.
Mike truly has “green blood” and is a dedicated 4-H leader. He listens thoughtfully, asks the right questions and always has a smile. No wonder his 4-H members love him.