Tuesday, May 27

What 4-H Taught Me






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.



For sixteen years, I was a proud 4-H leader. My sister and I started a horse club for our five kids. They brought friends, then strangers joined, and before we knew it, we ran one of the biggest clubs in our county.

I loved every moment of 4-H. I couldn't participate when I was a kid. We moved every six-seven months and 4-H requires work.

One of the things I'm proudest of is my sister started horsebowl in our county, a knowledge competition, and we went to state every year and nationals three times! Oh, the work! We studied every week during the school year, for hours, to get to that level.

After my daughter aged out, she became my co-leader because my sister had retired by that time. I stayed in the organization four years after my daughter, niece and nephew aged out. I would still be going, but to be a state/national level competitor require a level of dedication that less and less kids wanted to put in. They wanted it now...with no work.

It kind of reminds me of the current book culture. Publication took me twenty years. I worked my ass off! I took classes, I read and I worked until I knew what I was doing. I'm self published, along with some small presses. But there's no way in hell I'd put out a product that was slapped together. So many people want to write a book, throw it on Amazon with no editing or a decent book cover. And they wonder why Indie authors get a bad name.

My advice?

The same I gave my horsebowl kids. You want it, you gotta earn it.































19 comments:

  1. I was never in 4-H or Girl Scouts ... and sometimes I think I missed out on a little childhood because I wasn't involved. I don't think bebe will be a 4-H or Girl Scouts girl but she's learning hard work and determination through gymnastics...I hope what she is learning now carries on through her whole life

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    1. Sports fall in line with 4-H. You learn so much from them.

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  2. I agree with you. I worked my butt off--still working my butt off. I took a year-long writing course to learn the craft. I joined group after group. I critted others work and they critted mine. I revised, again and again. My first book went through no less than 10 drafts. I took my lumps--still am. I struggled. Got shot down. Picked myself up again. And in the end, it made me a better writer.

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  3. D'Ann, I belonged to 4-H, when I was a kid. It's where I learned a love for baking. I was, also, taught how to sew, but that didn't take at all. lol I hated sewing. I had lots of friends in 4-H, and the mother's and father's of my friends were wonderful sharing their expertise with us.

    Writing a book is harder than anyone would dream it could be, but we have a bunch of people who think they can make tons of money by producing any old crap they want to publish on Amazon.

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  4. I wasn't in 4-H, sort of jealous about that though. I had a lot of animals on my home (rabbits, chickens, cats, dogs, guinea pigs, etc.) but I think 4-H was frowned on in my town. They always felt that was for the smaller town next to us, not our own. I would have loved to have had the chance to work and learn more about animals!

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    1. Oh, so sad, Melissa. I love the program!

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  5. I was a 4-H'er too, D! In a horsebowl and horse club too. My mom taught sewing-ugh. Happy to have the skill now, but hated sewing when I was a kid, lol. There isn't a craft my mom didn't teach me and my sisters and I love her for it. And I completely agree with you. If you want it, you gotta work for it. Nothing worth having comes easy.

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    1. No wonder we're such good friends!

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  6. I was in 4-H. I'm STILL in Extension Homemakers, which supports 4-H and does other things besides. I don't think there IS any better advice than what you gave, no matter where your roots were.

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    1. Thank you! That's awesome that you're a 4-Her still!

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  7. I was in 4-H, was a leader for years and had my kids in it. Earning something for yourself is great advise and makes you appreciate what you have.

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    1. Love 4-H and glad to know another one!

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  8. Excellent advice, D'Ann. I totally agree!

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  9. I never did 4H but I did do Scouts. And I totally agree with all you said about doing the work. Unfortunately, we live in an era of instant gratification and entitlement.

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