• 45°

4-H family reflects on decades of service

When it comes to 4-H, Phil and Wanda Hardy have a lot to think about.

Saturday, March 10, 2001

When it comes to 4-H, Phil and Wanda Hardy have a lot to think about.

"This is probably about our 30th year," Mrs. Hardy said.

The couple were both involved with Lawrence County 4-H as children, then later started a 4-H club of their own – the Dog Fork Haymakers.

Now, they continue to serve as advisers to the club. Also, their daughter, Lana, and son and daughter-in-law, Troy and Heather, help advise.

"Our grandchildren are in it now," Mrs. Hardy said, with a smile. "You can’t get out once you get started. You really enjoy it."

In fact, the county 4-H program has been part of the Hardy family for many years, something they are happy about.

"I really think the friendships and fellowship in 4-H is good for children," Mrs. Hardy said. "It’s something besides schoolwork and ballgames, and it’s something for the summer."

The 4-H program – the largest youth organization in the country – teaches the responsibility of picking a project and completing it, she said.

Young people in 4-H also experience hands-on learning, build self-confidence, develop decision-making skills, make friends and emerge as leaders.

And, when it’s warmer weather, the Haymakers meetings usually get held in the Hardy family’s large backyard for volleyball and refreshments – a lot of fun, Mrs. Hardy said. Then, there’s all the demonstrations and Cloverbud projects they get to do, too.

"I would encourage everybody to join," she said.

As the celebration of 4-H Week comes to a close, county 4-H Extension agent Laura Jane Murphy is reminded of all the advisers, volunteers, clubs and helpers that make up the entire 4-H family.

"I think one of 4-H’s greatest strengths is it’s a family organization," Ms. Murphy said.

Not only are the children involved but the whole family joins, she said.

"We talk about today’s times, when everybody’s going in different directions, and 4-H allows the whole family to come together," Ms. Murphy said. "The Hardy family is one example of families who did things in 4-H that carried over into many parts of their lives and strengthened family unity."

Lawrence County 4-H has about 40 clubs, including three new ones. Anybody can join and volunteer at anytime.

And, a majority of the projects are not about agriculture.

The main theme is to teach kids to communicate, make decisions, set goals and whatever planning they need to do to reach those goals – whether that’s from basic life skills like public speaking to science projects or raising a market steer, Ms. Murphy said.

For more information about 4-H, contact the Extension office at 533-4322.