National 4-H Week

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:

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2 thoughts on “National 4-H Week

  1. I share similar thoughts with you. I too started be in the livestock industry before I was able to become and official clover kid. I started showing horses when I was two. As soon as I turned of age I was in rolled in 4-H. Little did I know then that it would be one of the organizations that would help shape me for the rest of my life. I was involved in the horse program, sewing, cooking, woodworking, and many other projects while in 4-H. Towards the end I also started my own goat program where I would raise and show my own goats. I have even placed at the national level with the livestock I have raised. Later I also got the opportunity to show both market lambs and market barrows. When I turned 18 I was really bummed that this experience had to come to an end. However, I did not let it stop me there. I continue with the goats and am building my own cattle herd. 4-H help teach me so many qualities that have been useful throughout life. These include responsibility, dedication, as well as record keeping and many more. I cannot thank my mom enough for getting me involved. It is an amazing life experience and you make friends that can last a life time. I would encourage any young individuals remotely involved in the agriculture industry to look into the 4-H program as it is beneficial in many ways.

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