To the Editor:
The 4-H program is one of the largest and most beneficial youth organizations in the United States and I was very disturbed to read the letter to the editor in the Aug. 21 Craig Daily Press. The 4-H program is designed to teach young children and teens leadership, record keeping and responsibility. This is done through various 4-H projects, organizing workshops, activities and presenting demonstrations, just to name a few.
Raising a 4-H animal is a very time consuming, expensive and difficult task that requires an immense amount of family support as well as hard work and dedication from the 4-H member. Like other youth development programs, 4-H requires a tremendous amount of guidance from parents and volunteer adult leaders.
As a past 4-H member of a very active 4-H family I am grateful for the endless benefits I have gained from the program and I hate to see the organization looked down upon because of a misleading letter.
When writing a letter for the public to view about an organization, it would be beneficial to first get your facts straight. It was stated that 4-H members were not doing their own work during the 40 minutes before the show. It was also stated that only 2 percent of the members do the training, feeding and grooming of the animals.
First, it would be very difficult for an individual in the general public to know every youth in the program and know which youth are working with their animals
Second, if you are going to put this on a percentage rate, I have figured there to be approximately 194,400 minutes in a nine-month period, which it takes to raise a 4-H market beef project. This includes the training, feeding and grooming of the animal prior to fair. If you take this amount of time and divide it by the 40 minutes before the show, that comes to .0002 percent of the total minutes required of a market beef project.
Is that enough time to make a fair assumption about the effort or time most members put into their projects?
The livestock sale not only benefits the 4-H member but also helps the local economy. An average market beef project will return approximately $1,000 per animal back to the local businesses.
As mentioned in the letter, I agree it is important for buyers and supporters of the 4-H program to discuss the 4-H projects with the members, as this is a learning experience in marketing their product as well as livestock production.
As with any organization, youth or adult, each individual participating will receive varying degrees of benefits from the program depending upon their own involvement and willingness to participate in all aspects of the program.
The 4-H Youth Development program is a wonderful youth organization and I would encourage any youth, adult and/or businesses to get involved and be a part of our community's positive youth organizations.
4-H leader and past member