Fair reminder of importance of 4-H program

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Walking down the midway at the Lawrence County Fair Monday afternoon brought back fond memories of my past.

Many years ago, I was a proud, card-carrying member of 4-H, and the Ross County Fair was the place to be in early August. Back then, nothing was more exciting than living at the fairgrounds for a week.

I first joined 4-H when I was 8 years old, mainly because some of my older friends talked me into it. Little did I know that being a 4-H member would become a big part of my life.

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I started going to 4-H camp at Tar Hollow State Park my first year. When I was old enough, I began serving as a camp counselor. Going to camp led to many friendships with people from other schools whom I probably would have never met otherwise.

The time I spent with my fellow 4-Hers during

those years, both at camp and at the fair, were some of the best days of my life. During the summer months, many of us were inseparable. We hung out together often, and even when the school year began a lot of us kept in touch.

It has been quite a few years since I was an active participant in 4-H, but I

know that I am a better person because of my involvement in the organization.

Through my own personal experiences, I know firsthand how important 4-H is to our young people.

For more than a century, 4-H has helped develop our

youth into confident, capable and caring citizens. Strengthening young people's skills in teamwork, leadership and citizenship is valuable, and 4-H has been doing this for many years.

4-H provides a positive environment for our youth. They have the opportunity to foster relationships with not only their peers, but also caring adults. At the same time, they gain valuable educational experiences. I would recommend parents to encourage their children to join.

The program also depends on numerous adult volunteers to be advisors for the clubs, serve on sub-committees and organize special events and activities. For those who can, volunteering with 4-H would be a good investment of their time.

Businesses and community members can help, too. By sponsoring an event or buying an animal at the annual livestock sale, these people can know that their money is going to a worthy cause.

Going to the county fair is another way we can help by recognizing the hard work and dedication of these young people and supporting their cause.

More important, it is an investment in our youth. I hope to see you there.

Shawn Doyle is managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached by calling (740) 532-1445 ext. 19 or by e-mail to shawn. doyle@irontontribune.com.