Sunday, February 8, 2009

Love post #3 - 4-H

I love 4-h. I mean I seriously adore this program. I truly believe that this program molds children into fabulous people. It teaches so many great things. I was in 4-H when I was a kid. I loved it then and I still love it now that my kids are in it.

I showed cattle - Shorthorns which is a breed of beef cattle and Holstein dairy cattle. I also raised market steers. Oh one time I raised a market lamb too. I hated that lamb.

So what makes 4-H so great? Well there are the friendships, for one thing. I made lifelong friends through 4-H. I met people from all over the state at different times. I learned skills to assimilate with strangers and how to get to know people quickly. I learned so many things from the people I came in contact with. But the biggest "people" benefit was my friends, the other kids I went to events with, that I spent a week each summer at fair with. These are the people I look forward to seeing every summer when we all get together at fair. Many of these people live in the county we grew up in and have kids showing at the same fair we did. I don't but my mom is still a 4-H leader there so I have a good excuse to go down and see all MY friends on the pretense of seeing Mom and helping her with some project or another.

Besides the people skills, there is so much more that 4-H has to offer. Members learn practical skills such as animal care, food prep skills, photography, speaking skills, critical thinking, personal responsibility and personal care skills, debate skills, record keeping and so much more.

Now my kids are learning all these great things and having fun doing it. Imagine that! Fun and learning. What a concept.

This year DD#1 is raising rabbits and pygmy goats. She is also involved in photography, food and nutrition, food preservation, art, and several other areas. She is also a Junior Leader this year. This is a big opportunity for her to mature and gain leadership skills while having a lot of fun. Saturday she did all of that. Saturday the kids put on their small animal show that the club sponsors. The jr. leaders are responsible for doing a lot of the work on this project. They get donations for the raffle and silent auction. They organize and recruit the volunteers (parents) needed to make the day run smoothly. They do the set up and clean up. It is a huge project and they learn a lot from doing it.

Everything went smoothly this year. We had an excellent turn out particularly for the rabbit show. This year we added poultry and cats. While those shows were small, they were successful and the kids had a great time. My DD had an excellent start to her show season with a call back in showmanship, one blue and one red in confirmation. The judge is an older gentleman who makes the kids think, educates them and the parents but still finds ways to have fun with them as well.

Here she is doing her "job" of manning the sales table.

And on the showmanship table waiting her turn and showing the judge Toby the rabbit's legs.

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