Stephanie Pearce: Sign up for 4-H, deadline Feb.26 | CraigDailyPress.com

Stephanie Pearce: Sign up for 4-H, deadline Feb.26

Stephanie Pearce

Stephanie Pearce

Have you ever watched a caterpillar turn into a butterfly? I remember doing this in the third grade. We had caterpillars who built their cocoons to make a wonderful transformation to become something so beautiful. When the time was right, they struggled free and waited while their wings were pumped full of blood so that they could begin working. Within three or four hours, they mastered flying.

It reminds me of children in our local 4-H programs. Children can come to the program at the young age of 6 as clover buds. They learn the essentials of attending meetings and doing small projects. When they are 8, they can join a regular 4-H club.

As a parent and a leader, I see kids transform throughout their years in 4-H. This program is so beneficial not only to kids, but their entire families. Children gain valuable skills in 4-H that can help them in their everyday lives as adults as well. They learn at a young age work ethic, record keeping (which will help later in balancing a check book), and a skill that they can either use in the real world or enjoy as a hobby later in life. They learn how to work with not only their own age groups, but kids below and above them as well as adults. The most rewarding thing is watching them become leaders themselves, not only in 4-H, but our communities.

The sign up for our local 4-H is right now. The cut off has been moved up this year to Feb. 26. Our 4-H clubs are not only livestock related. We have everything from nationally recognized shooting sports and archery to clothing construction and everything in between. Take some time and look at all there is to offer. There are also contests that are separate from regular projects that they can participate in at State Conference (for 14 to 18 year olds) such as livestock judging, speech, parliamentary procedure, and horse bow.

There are also chances to participate in conferences across the state such as Leadership Development and District Retreat. District Retreat's cut off is in March and the key note speaker will be Amberley Snyder. Amberley is a Utah State high school rodeo champion who now participates in the sport on a collegiate level. She was in a life-altering car crash while on her way to represent as a state FFA officer at the National Western Stock Show in 2010. She is now paralyzed from the waist down. She had to learn how to balance herself on a horse, learn new ways to communicate instructions to her horse without using her legs, and how to live her life. Most importantly, Amberley learned that she could use what could have been a tragedy to inspire those around her to never give up on their dreams. If your child is eligible to go to this conference and hear her speak, I hope you sign them up.

Our local 4-H has had such a positive influence on my children and my family. I have enjoyed being a participant, parent and a leader. I truly enjoy taking these kids across the state to experience new things. I enjoy watching the children grow from caterpillars to butterflies.

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Consider putting your kids in 4-H this year. You sign up at our local extension office at 539 Barclay St. here in Craig (behind the Court House). Remember, the deadline is Feb. 26. I hope to watch your kids grow up in this great organization too.

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