Four generations of 4-H involvement |

Four generations of 4-H involvement

Helen Dobbin had trouble with some sewing techniques when she was growing up.

“I couldn’t put a zipper in,” she said. “My mom made me do it over and over and over.”

She eventually got it down, but she admits, “I don’t know if I could do it now.”

It’s memories like this that made 4-H a wonderful experience for her, and one she’s passed down to her daughter, granddaughter, and now, her great-granddaughter.

“We encouraged the kids to do it because of the learning experience,” said Dee Sweetser, Dobbin’s daughter. “It’s the responsibility mainly.”

Her daughter, Carrie Sweet–ser, and granddaughter, Darby Andrews, 10, have become in—-volved in 4-H since Dobbin started the tradition in 1927.

“4-H was just coming into being when my sister and I started,” Dobbin said. “I lived in the country, and all the young kids signed up.”

So she did too, enrolling in sewing and home furnishings projects. The family lived in El Paso County until Carrie’s childhood, when they came to Hayden. Dee still lives there, and the rest have come to Moffat County.

Andrews signed up for 4-H for the first year, and took veterinary science and dog obedience projects to the 2005 fair.

“It’s fun, and you learn a lot,” she said. “It’s like school over the summer.”

Dobbin is happy 4-H interests her great-granddaughter because the program has molded the way her family was raised.

“I’m so glad to see it’s surviving and doing as well as it’s doing,” she said. “It had to be a good program or it wouldn’t have survived this long.”

But some aspects of the organization have changed during the years. Youths are not interested in the same types of projects.

“I think the livestock parts are as big as ever, but the home economics things aren’t,” Dee said.

It’s just a sign of the times, she said.

“How hard is it to cook in a microwave? Now you don’t make a cake, you just buy a mix.”

Carrie said she still sees the important life skills that made the program meaningful for her.

“It’s teaching Darby responsibility for animals and other people,” she said. “You don’t really get that when you’re playing Xbox or Nintendo. (4-H is) something I really value and hope she continues on with.”

Andrews has the same idea in mind.

“I really enjoyed it this year and I learned a lot,” she said. “I know I’m going to do it next year.”

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