4-H volunteer leader Beverly Holmberg, creator of the “Bug Brainiacs,” a 4-H after-school club at North, Va., received the 4-H Afterschool Opens Doors Award from the National 4-H Council. The award is supported by the JCPenny Afterschool Fund to recognize 4-H volunteers who are involved in 4-H Afterschool programming in their communities.

Holmberg is the creator and director of an after-school entomology club. It capitalizes on “the enthusiasm of young people in grades three through six with a goal of accomplishing the appropriate fifth grade Standards of Learning to the greatest potential,” said Holmberg. This “Bug Brainiacs” club provides the laboratory for fieldwork and experiments that support what members learn in school.

Members learn to use a garden as a laboratory to study the growth of insects, the interrelationships of insects and vegetation, and the ecology of pond life. About 45 students participate in the after-school clubs. Supplemental and updated information is provided through the resources available from Virginia Tech.

“4-H is pleased to honor those individuals who are leading successful after-school programs that use the 4-H curriculum,” said Robert Ray Meadows, director of the Virginia 4-H Youth Development program.

The Opens Doors program is designed to help support after-school programs by training program staff, increasing the use of 4-H curricula, organizing 4-H clubs in after-school settings to provide 4-H activities to youth, and work with other JCPenney Afterschool Fund partners, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, YMCA, Junior Achievement, and the Afterschool Alliance.

4-H is the youth development program of Virginia Cooperative Extension. Extension, a part of Virginia Tech and Virginia State universities, provides scientific information that citizens can use to improve their lives at work and home. Extension is a cooperative effort of local governments, state government, the land-grant universities, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.