The 4-H program has been a huge part of my life. While there are many diverse clubs within the youth development program, I mostly stuck to what I knew – raising lambs! I did go off the beaten path to raise two market goats, learn about citizenship and grow flowers and other plants with younger community members; those stories are for another day.
Raising lambs among other young leaders was a special part of growing up. I started helping my dad, mom and sister in the sheep barn before I was 4-H age. I never did officially become a “cloverbud” but I was there, learning from the older members about animal care, respectful behavior and countless other lessons. One huge lesson of 4-H was understanding the difference between being an “animal person” and being a “pet person.” I love raising sheep and lambs, but I understand that I can’t keep every sheep I’ve ever seen live a happy life on our farm, and the meat that comes from those animals provide my family and others’ with essential nutrients to carry on.
I feel so fortunate to have grown up learning to “make the best better” by pledging …”my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”
Here a few classic snapshots from my time in 4-H: