County Extension Agent

4-H & Youth Development

What does camp do for campers? Camps light sparks in children and young people, which may take flame now or which may require years to burn.

Campers' excitement like fireflies lighting a summer's evening sparks childhood memories of fun-filled, stress-free, spontaneous days. Attending summer camp can be a time for experiencing nature and the outdoors, making new friends and learning life skills. Summer camp is more than just a vacation.

4-H Camps offered are:

* 4-H Discovery Day, June 28 to 31, in Manhattan on the Kansas State University campus. It is open to all youth age 13 to 18 by Jan. 1 of the current year. Registration is due April 15 at or

* Lakeside 4-H Camp, June 13 and 14, at Scott County Lake, Lakeside Conference Center. It is open to all youth, first to third grades, complete. Registration deadline is May 17.

* Heart of Kansas 4-H Camp, June 17 to 20, at Rock Springs 4-H Center south of Junction City. It is open for all youth, fourth to seventh grades, complete. Registration deadline is May 1.

* Kansas 4-H Photo Adventure Camp, June 5 to 8 at Rock Springs 4-H Center. Open for ages 13 to 16 as of Jan. 1, 2013. Registration is due May 1.

* 4-H Campference, June 17 to 20, at Rock Springs 4-H Center. For youth age 12 to 14 as of Jan. 1. Acquaints youth to leadership activities and some camping activities. Registration is due May 15.

* 4-H Sewing Adventure Camp, June 27 to 30, at Rock Springs 4-H Center. For youth age 10 to 13 as of Jan. 1. Registration is due June 1.

* State Western KS 4-H Geology Guided Field Trip, June 7 to 9, with headquarters at Ellis High School, Ellis. Youth must have designated supervising adult attending. Registration is due May 20 (with T-shirt) or June 1 (without T-shirt).

Information about 4-H Camps is available to the public. Contact the Finney County Extension Office at 272-3670, email, visit or 501 S. Ninth St..

Camp is a learning adventure like no other place to learn self-confidence, cooperating with others and life beyond one's own world. The outcome of camping is for those life lessons to contribute in a positive and significant way that enhances the child's adjustment into their adult years.

Experience the spirit of 4-H Camp!

Reusable grocery bags

The trend of swapping disposable grocery bags for cloth and plastic-lined reusable bags has become an increasingly popular "green" alternative. Reusable bags reduce waste, but how safe are they for our health?

The fabric or materials in reusable grocery bags can get contaminated with germs like Salmonella or E. coli from food or other items. These germs could then cross-contaminate other food or items we carry in the reusable bag and make us sick.

If you use reusable grocery bags, here are some simple steps that you can follow to reduce cross-contamination and keep yourself and your family safe from germs.

* Wash reusable grocery bags often. Cloth reusable bags should be washed in a washing machine using laundry detergent and dried in the dryer or air-dried. Plastic-lined reusable bags should be scrubbed using hot water and soap and air-dried.

* Check that both cloth and plastic-lined reusable bags are completely dry before storing them.

* Always put raw meats into a disposable plastic bag before putting them in a reusable bag. A disposable plastic bag helps contain any juices that drip off of raw meat packages, which can touch other foods and contaminate them. Disposable plastic bags are usually available in the raw meat or produce areas of your store. Throw away disposable plastic bags used for raw meat immediately after use. Never reuse bags that contained raw meat or poultry.

* Keep meats, fresh produce and ready-to-eat foods separated. Use separate bags dedicated for meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and ready-to-eat foods. It's also a good idea to keep these foods separated in your shopping cart, at the checkout line on the conveyor belt and at home. This will help reduce cross-contamination.

* Remember that cold food needs to be refrigerated within two hours of leaving the store or market. Cold food should be refrigerated within one hour when temperatures outside are above 90 degrees.

* Store reusable bags at home in a cool, dry place, not in the car. Store reusable bags in a cool, dry place in your home or in the garage. Higher temperatures, like those inside of a car or a car's trunk, can cause germs like Salmonella bacteria to grow faster.

* Do not use reusable grocery bags for other purposes. Bags used for groceries should be used only for food. Don't carry items such as baby bottles, toys, gym clothes and other items in the same reusable bags that you take to the grocery store.

These simple steps will help you to reduce cross-contamination, and help keep you and your family safe from harmful bacteria.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Purple wheat

There have been reports of purple wheat over the past week or two. Is this a cause for concern? Probably not. If the symptoms just appeared suddenly, and the wheat had a nice green color prior to that, then there is no cause for concern.

What happened is that two weeks ago, temperatures warmed up and wheat began growing rapidly. Then the weather turned cold again, with temperatures far below normal for 10 days or so. This suddenly slowed the growth of the wheat, and caused the upper leaves to turn purple. The new growth should be nice and green again, and the wheat will grow out of it.

There are some differences among varieties in their tendencies to turn purple. Purple wheat can also be caused by phosphorus deficiency or very low soil-pH and aluminum toxicity.

These problems would have caused wheat to have been purple for a longer period of time, however, and would not have resulted in a sudden shift from green to purple when the weather turned cold a few weeks ago.

Source: Kansas State Extension.