NELIGH, Neb. -- The Antelope County 4-H program is alive and well and is even close to raising enough money to build a new youth enrichment center in the next couple of years.

Officials with the program said it’s seen significant growth.

“We have a lot of youth interested in our 4-H program,” said Tessa Hain who is the 4-H Youth Development Coordinator with Nebraska Extension.

Hain said the program started around six years ago. At the time, Hain said she heavily recruited kids around the area since there was only 150 members. Because of Hain’s efforts, that number is now at 370 youth members.

While the summer months offer countless things for kids to do, Hain added the youth she works with make it a priority to be involved with the program.

“They still take it upon themselves to make sure 4-H is a program that they want to do and make time to do during the summer,” Hain said.

With interest in different activities continuing to grow across the program, the current facilities can’t match the demand. Luckily, a new facility should be on the way soon.

With a goal of raising $400,000 to pay for the new center, organizers have already raised $237,000.

Chair & Poultry Superintendent Rhonda Meyer said the kids in the program are ecstatic for a new building.

“We’ve talked about it with some of the kids and they’re anxious,” Meyer said. “The sooner we can get this done the better it’ll be for everybody.”

“We’re getting very close to our goal,” added Hain. “It’ll be a great showcase for our youth.”

Officials also said they expect to meet their goal by the end of the year and hopefully have the new building completed in 2025.