4-H: Building Character Through LivestockWhile 4-H has over 80 different project areas—most of which have nothing to do with animals—livestock and agriculture are definitely the most popular projects in the 4-H program.
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Many people have heard about 4-H, but it is difficult to convince some people that 4-H is not strictly about animals. While 4-H has over 80 different project areas—most of which have nothing to do with animals—livestock and agriculture are definitely the most popular projects in the 4-H program. Summer has started to fade, everyone is looking for the fall breezes to blow in, and 4-H’ers across the county are working hard on their animal projects to get them ready for what comes with the end of summer—The County Fair.
Some very obvious lessons are learned by 4-H youth as they raise a show animal for the fair. Responsibility is instilled into their daily lives as they conduct the everyday chores of feeding, watering, exercising and grooming their animal. This preparation begins months before the fair even gets here. As one looks deeper into the activities during the week of the fair, it is certain that our young livestock exhibitors are learning a lot more lessons than can be seen on the surface.
Showing at the fair each year is not about the ribbons—well, not solely about ribbons. An awesome feeling comes for the youth who receives the Grand Champion ribbon for their animal. That beautiful purple ribbon seems like the crowning achievement for the past year’s sweat, blood, and hard work. Unfortunately, there can only be one winner. All the one other kids who did not win first still have much to be proud of and lots they have learned. While at the livestock shows, 4-H youth learn to get along with other competitors, communicate with judges, and learn about sportsmanship. 4’Hers feel the excitement when they win, but they also feel disappointment when they don’t do as well as expected. It’s through this disappointment that a 4-H’er shows his or her true character. They learn to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and look forward to a better day.
Take the opportunity this fall to be a casual observer in the livestock barns at the fair. As you walk through the barns, you will see our 4-H’ers demonstrating more integrity and a stronger work ethic than you can imagine. They work hard to make their animal look its best. They share tips with each other, and help each other make improvements, right up until the moment they step into the show ring. Once in the ring, these kids are all business—concentrating on their animal and winning first place. Once the participants step out of the ring, they shake each other’s hands, congratulate the winner, and continue to help each other put animals up and get ready for the next show. What an inspiring display of sportsmanship! The encouragement among all the competitors is amazing. After the evening of competition is over, you will witness even more congratulations given to the winners. Non-winners feel a sense of admiration for the champion, but they also begin to re-kindle their determination to improve so that next year, they can be the one to win first place.
Parents, leaders, and volunteers are always in the background, helping to impart life lessons to the 4-H members at the fair. Kids learn that life is not always fair, and that they will not always win. Through the help and encouragement of caring adults, they learn to deal with disappointments and they learn to strive to do their best. In that, they find their success. The county fair dates are rapidly approaching! Plan on coming out to see what the 4-H youth of Garland County has been up to. These young people will be an extraordinary representation for our community—it will make you proud! Every 4-H’er will be working toward the 4-H motto: “To make the best better!”
If you are interested in becoming a 4-H volunteer leader and possibly establishing a club in your neighborhood, contact Linda Bates, 501-623-6841, or email firstname.lastname@example.org at the Extension Office for more facts about 4-H and for information about getting a club started. We need you!!!
Additional information is available at our website: www.uaex.edu/garland.
Master Gardener Information
Master Gardener meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month at the Elks Lodge. They’re open to the public and guests are always welcome. For more information call the Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Allen Bates at email@example.com .
Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC contact Jessica Vincent on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.
By Linda Bates
County Extension Agent - 4-H
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Linda Bates
County Extension Agent - 4-H
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal
access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to
participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension
office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.