Jamie Dufrene is a county agent for 4-H in Hempstead County and is excited about a new 4-H Club that has formed recently.
“We have begun a 4-H Veterinarian Science Club for youth ages nine to 19 from Hempstead and Nevada County,” Dufrene said. “The average age of our club members is 12. We go to Dr. Stroderd's office and Dr. Powell and Perry's office and they observe surgeries, vaccinations, and any other procedure that the doctor is doing at that time.”
The students observe from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. The absence from school is excused.
Program goals include developing a personalized curriculum for students in veterinary science, providing students with career opportunities in veterinary science, and providing students with an opportunity to work in a veterinary practice under the supervision of a veterinarian to develop the knowledge and skills require to become a competent veterinary aide.
“They are working toward a certificate to be a veterinary assistant,” she said. “They have to have 500 hours in the clinic and it is a five-year program. Some have expressed interest in being a vet.”
The next step up is being a Veterinary Technician and the training will help them achieve that goal.
“We went to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to OSU for the open house of the Veterinary School there,” Dufrene said. “It was an overnight trip. The facility specializes in embryo transfer.
“This program is a brand new program in Arkansas,” she said.
Dufrene said the trip was open to any other vet science clubs throughout the state. At least 20 were scheduled to attend, she said.
“I'm excited about the possibilities for learning,” Dufrene said of the trip.
“There is lots of bookwork and dedication that goes into this program,” she said. “We have a code of conduct that the students sign when they begin the program. We have also been working with the 21st Century After School Program. Some of the topics include 'Nutrition to Gardening,' and 'Introduction to 4-H.' We meet twice a month at Yerger and the official name of the club is Yerger 21st Century 4-H Club.”
Meetings for the 4-H Veterinarian Science Club are on the first Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. The club meets at the University of Arkansas Southwest Arkansas Research and Extension Center and there is no fee to join, however, the book, which spans the five-year program costs $85. For more information on this or any other 4-H Club, contact Dufrene at 870-777-5771.