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4-H is a time-honored tradition

By Linda Thompson

Cass County 4-H and FFA members have spent most of this week exhibiting their animals at the Cass County Junior Livestock Show which ends today with the annual auction. Obviously, things are a bit different this year as COVID-19 has left few of our day-to-day lives intact. And that is especially true for our 4-H youth who are involved in livestock projects who have worked all year long to get their animals ready to show.

However, in spite of the setbacks we have all experienced, those same youth at least had an opportunity to lead their animals into the show ring and “show off” their hard work.

With that being said, there is something about this time of year that turns my thoughts back to when I was a young “farm girl” and the bottom line is that much of my life in those days, especially in the summer months, revolved around 4-H much like those youngsters today who exhibited their livestock this week.

People who know me well know that 4-H has always been and will always be on of my “pet projects,” and thanks to Janice Parris, I relive a lot of those moments on a weekly basis as she has been sending little bios of 4-H members we have highlighted in the 4-H Spotlight. As I read what these youth have written about their experiences, it gives me an opportunity to reflect on my own experiences and it is comforting to know that the 4-H spirit I know and love lives on.

I was a proud member of the Raymore 4-H Club. It was a family affair for us. My dad was the leader of the beef project and my mother was always there to pack the picnic lunch we took to enjoy at the show.

We were in a constant pursuit of show those cattle, win those ribbons and move on to the next show.

We had worked all year and the really fun part came in the summer when we first participated in our local club’s Achievement Day and the next step forward was the county show right here in Harrisonville. It was held at that time where the old Davis Brothers Park was originally located on South Commercial Street. It was a time that we got to know other young people who shared the same enjoyment and goals and who did their best to put their best foot forward in being the best that we could be.

Back in those days, there were no photography projects, bug collecting or robotics or any of the other up-to-date projects youth participate in today. Actually, those types of projects are exactly what has kept 4-H alive and well today. While in my day, 4-H was
pretty much for the farm kids, 4-H has truly kept up with the times and continues to offer projects that appeal to youngsters that live in “the city.” Truly a something for everyone kind of thing. Pretty smart in my opinion because regardless of the project, they are learning new skills and new ways of expressing themselves.

And because of the forward thinking of 4-H, it continues to represent the 4-H creed.

I believe in 4-H Club work for the opportunity it will give me to become a useful citizen.

I believe in the training of my HEAD for the power it will give me to think, plan and to reason.

I believe in the training of my HEART for the nobleness it will give me to be kind, sympathetic and true.

I believe in the training of my HANDS for the ability it will give me to be helpful, skillful, and useful.

I believe in the training of my HEALTH for the strength it will give me to enjoy life, to resist disease, and to work efficiently.

I believe in my country, my state, and my community and in my responsibility for their development. In all these things I believe, and am willing to dedicate my
efforts to their fulfillment.

I can truly say that my days in 4-H represent my fondest childhood memories. And I can also attest to the fact that things I learned in 4-H have served me well throughout my adult life. In my opinion, 4-H can give youth a healthy dose of confidence that prepares them to meet the world head on.

To those adults today that serve as 4-H leaders, thank you. You are setting an example that will serve those you are leading for many years to come and for that I am grateful.

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