Growing up on a small dairy farm, 4-H was the highlight of my summer vacation from school. As, I get older and get out there in the “world”, I am amazed at the number of people who do not know what 4-H is or what the (4) H’s even stand for. How can this be? 4-H consumed my childhood. I am a 9 year veteran of 4-H, was a Junior Leader, and a member of the Lorain County Junior Fair Board…how can people NOT know what this is? Fact of the matter, I have done a poor job promoting and sharing my 4-H experience with others.
So, back to basics:
The 4-H pledge:
“I pledge 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.”
The 4-H motto:
“To make the best, BETTER”
So, now that you know what the 4 H’s stand for (Head, Heart, Hands, and Health) I can share a bit of my experience.
As I said, I grew up on a small dairy farm. We also had quite an intense vegetable operation, and a variety of other animals. No television – and of course as kids we wanted one. I joined 4-H when I was 9 years old. When you join 4-H, you join a local club. (With the busy farm schedule and a mom who worked outside of the home, our family actually started our own club “The Golden Nuggets”) Once in a club, you commit to attending meetings, community service and sign up for projects. The projects are not all agricultural in nature. I delved in cooking, photography, public speaking, and even showed my cat. Of course, there are agricultural projects, too. My favorite was showing my prize jersey cow, “Rosalie”.
4-H projects taught me so much. In fact I think I learned more about real life in 4-H than I did in school. At age 9, I was speaking in front of peers about tornado safety, LEARNING about parliamentary procedure, making tuna fish salad sandwiches (and being scolded for licking my fingers), and feeding calves on my own. At age 17, I was speaking to crowds at community parades, TEACHING parliamentary procedure, cooking full meals for my family, and hosting cheerleading practice on the farm because I couldn’t leave the heifers unattended. Now at age “29”, I am invited to speak at conferences across the State, USE parliamentary procedure at meetings on a regular basis, was appointed by Governor Strickland to the Ohio Food Policy Council, and have decided that raising hogs is much easier than dairy cows!
4-H is a commitment. Not just from the child, but also the parent. My children are enrolled in 4-H and I enjoy helping them along the way, and I would like to thank my parents, John and Susan Koglman, for enrolling me, taking the time to help me and allowing me to participate in 4-H!
If you would like to enroll your child or would like to know more about 4-H visit their website http://www.4-h.org/about/