Wednesday, July 29, 2009

To make the best better

That is 4-H's motto. I revisited my 4-H days last week when I went out to the Pawnee County Fair to be present as the first savings bonds in Dad's memory were presented to winners in the swine and horse competitions.

Dad served as a club and county 4-H leader for more than 30 years, so it was powerful for me (and I'm sure other family members) to see him continue to contribute in this small way.

The 4-H pledge explains what the four Hs are:

"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."

The pledge sounds simple and wholesome, but we learned a lot in 4-H. My siblings and I belonged to the Rozel Rockets in western Pawnee County. They were the Rozel Hustlers before the space race erupted, but adapted to the times.

The Rozel Rockets are no more, though. They merged with the Burdett Blue Ribbons to become the Western Wranglers (western Pawnee County, I take it). I guess that's a reflection of changing times once again.

But a few clubs survive whose names I recognize from my childhood: the Gem Dandys, the Zook Zippers and the Tiny Toilers.

Get the feeling 4-Hers enjoy alliteration?

We learned all sorts of things in the various projects we could enroll in, along with how to run and participate in meetings. That included public speaking, parliamentary procedure and how to sit still for an hour!

That was no small task for tykes, even then.

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