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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Commit to the Clover

It’s a long standing tradition, one that has been around for over 100 years.  It’s about hard work, commitment, education, responsibility and development.  For many people it’s about “summer homework” and hot, summer days spent committed to something other than yourself culminating in a week of fun with friends you may only see once a year. 

I am sure you have grasped that I’m talking about 4-H and imagining the green clover.  It’s a long standing tradition that empowers and teaches our young people and reminds us alumni of the power in our head, heart, hands and health.

I will admit, just like most people, that I hated homework so filling out my 4-H project books wasn’t my idea of fun.  And the hot summer days really got to me especially working with the pigs.  We shaved our pigs one summer so they would look nice, and I will never, ever forget that day, what it felt like and what I looked like in the end.  And fair week, while it seemed like hell for my parents, was a mini-camp or vacation with my friends from around the county I only saw once a year with many great memories I think of often.

 One of the great things about 4-H is that it’s not just for the country kids.  It’s for all kids of all kinds to be a part of something special, something greater than themselves, which has been a part of people’s lives for three different centuries.

Sometimes I think about what would happen if more of our children experienced 4-H, and had the summer homework, the commitment needed to get through the summer day and had the lifelong friendships and network from just one week a year.  What would happen if every child of ours was able to learn, recite by heart and commit to the 4-H pledge for a lifetime? 

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.

I personally think we would be a better community, country and world.  So as we approach fair week in our community, I am recommitting myself to the 4-H pledge.  And as a 10 year 4-H alumnae, I want my daughter to experience a long-standing tradition and commit herself to positive change through her head, heart, hands and health. 

I hope you will do the same for the program, yourself, the children and our community. If you never experienced 4-H, it doesn’t mean you can’t support the program with you contributions or skills.  You can and you should, just as the alumni, encourage our young people to be a part of a tradition that will stay with them for a lifetime.  When I see the 80 and 90 year old men and women still visit the fair because of their commitment to the 4-H program and to our youth, I can only imagine the memories they have and their reasons for still showing up.  With their aging heads and hearts, their worn and callused hands and their dwindling health, they are still committed to the clover just as we all should be.

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