Behind the Clover

As the county fairs in Indiana are winding down, many 4Hers are preparing for the Indiana State Fair or are just relieved that they got their project to their county fair and made it to the show ring.  Whether they earned a purple banner or just won a ribbon, they can say they completed another year of 4H.

There are many stories and articles you read about how 4H is a great youth organization. 4H teaches characteristics that a person can carry on through the rest of their life and teach the next generation.  It instills leadership skills and hard work. As a 10-year 4H member, I can completely agree with every article I read about these topics.  But I think that many people go unrecognized in this program.  Is it all about the kids… yes 100%. But who are behind these kids helping and supporting them to take on these projects each year?

Parents

If it weren’t for the parents, the youth program would not be where it is today.  Moms and dads are the backbone of this great organization. They help in so many ways whether it is with encouraging words, providing money to buy feed driving to 4H meetings or helping with your record book the night before its due. Many parents are your right hand man. They assist in anyway they can even if it late at night washing your jeans before show day.  When show day rolls around they are your biggest cheerleader in the barn. They make sure you have your boots and at least two clean shirts to show in. But for my brother… my mom always throws and extra in the truck. They are just as nervous as you while you wait in the holding ring. During the show, they can’t hold still! But win or lose they are still there for you. They always have something positive to say and are already planning for the next year.

So, Moms and Dads,

Thank you!

My parents and I after my 10 years of $-H.

Siblings

Siblings are taken for granted. Siblings are the ones who get the short end of the stick. They end up doing all the dirty work… cleaning hog pens in the scorching heat, walking your pigs when your gone, or watering your livestock when it is hot out. They spend the early mornings and late nights in the barn with you when you both would rather be in bed. Even though they don’t always act like it siblings love helping out every once in awhile.  They look up to you and are always watching you when it comes show time, even when competing against each other.  They are behind you in the holding ring with your water sprayer and an extra rag just in case. Even though their encouraging words may not always come out the best way they just want the best for you.

Siblings,

Thank you so much!

My brother and I competing against each other my last year.

Supporters

Where would 4H be without all of its supporters? It’s the extension agents, 4H leaders, the farmer down the road, or just a family friend. They are passionate about the program and would do anything for the youth. These people are awesome and don’t get told it enough! They go out of their way to make sure they can make your year in 4H as fun as it was when they were involved. Even though you are not their child, they treat you as you are. They will wake up at 4a.m. to take you to a show 3 hours away or take a weeks vacation just to be at the fair along your side.  These supporters are the ones that let you barrow their scales and let you use their barn to store your trailer. You can’t thank them enough for every thing they do for you.  If it weren’t for their guidance you would not have memories or the passion for the organization as you do.

Supporters,

Thank you for everything you have done!

Terry Miller, the one guy who actually wanted me to show sheep and if it was not for him I wouldn’t have! Thank you also to Gary Grice (not pictured) anything you want to know about pigs ask that guy!

Small Town Business Owners

It’s the lumber store, the local bank, or the car dealer downtown you know them. They are the ones that sponsor the trophy or plaque you win for champion in the breed.  They are the bidders at the auction who may not know the good from the bad in livestock, but they make sure every kid  is recognized for his or her hard work throughout their 4H project. They don’t do it for the glory and the fame; they don’t write a check each year to hear their name on their loud speaker for purchasing a pig. They do it because they are members of the community and they feel it is their responsibility.  These small town business  big and small- do it because they see how this 4H builds skills in the next generation.  To you it may look like a paycheck in the mail for your summer project, but to them it’s the satisfactory of knowing they acknowledged your hard work and efforts that you put into your project.

Small Town Business Owners,

Thank you for your effort and support!

My brother selling his pig in the auction at our county fair.

& of course you can’t forget the ones who love you the most… YOUR GRANDPARENTS!!

All four of my grandparents are always at every show! The ones on the right know nothing about livestock but always show their support!

If it was not for all of the ones above then you would not have the passion, patience, or love to teach the younger generation that you do today.

emma collage

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