Ever have something from your childhood that sticks with you like glue? I’m not talking about daily chores, school lessons or childhood rules but rather an involvement that had (and has) a true impact on your life. I spent years playing hardball and softball and still carry those lessons, but one glimpse of a four leaf clover and I catch myself reciting the following. “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.”
If you’ve been exposed to this motto, you know right away that it’s the lifeblood of 4-H. I don’t recall how many years we participated in the club, but what few we did had a huge impact on me. Through 4-H, I discovered that the fair isn’t just a place for carnival rides, funnel cakes and seeing farm animals up close. There’s so much more to it.
We lived on 10 acres so we were able to raise chickens and rabbits, but certainly no livestock like the farm families did. Well, we could, but didn’t since farming is a very time-intensive, demanding job. The chickens and rabbits were an extension of the garden and mostly a source of food. But I was able to show my rabbit at the fair. I raised her and took care of her and even would crawl into her hutch when I needed someone to talk to that I knew would listen. By no means was she show-quality, but that didn’t matter. I still treated her like she was. Prepared her for show like she would win the grand prize. Each member of the club could choose what to enter in the fair. I don’t remember what all I entered, maybe something I cross-stitched or a recipe book filled with a mix of hand-written recipes and ones I found in the newspaper. I still have that cookbook and reminisce whenever I look at it.
Through 4-H, I learned about responsibility, preparation and presentation. Members today have many more options for creating quality presentations and have experience through school. But 4-H allows them to put those skills to practice when they are being interviewed or judged.
4-H members don’t just show up at the fair with livestock or project in hand. The days preceding the fair involve a lot of last-minute preparation to finalize what they’ve worked on for months, weeks or even years. 4-H teaches how to present yourself and even speak to various sized groups.
And sometimes, all the hard work pays off with a ribbon. Sometimes the compensation is in experience and life-long memories. No matter what, the club members rally around each other, help and support one another even when they are competing against each other. That’s why I’m so happy when I hear that corporations like U.S. Cellular invest in their communities through programs like 4-H and Boys & Girls Club of America. It’s a commitment to the community and education!
Since 2009, U.S. Cellular has contributed more than $8.35 million to local educational programs. This year, they’ve announced a commitment to give $1.3 million to Boys & Girls Clubs of America and National 4-H Council. As part of U.S. Cellular’s Month of Giving and community involvement, associates are participating in their first-ever 4K for 4-H which was created to support National 4-H Council’s Grow True Leader’s campaign. U.S. Cellular associates are also supporting local Boys & Girls clubs by participating in various volunteer activities.
You may recall me previously sharing about U.S. Cellular’s commitment to STEM education. This is the second year that U.S. Cellular is funding Boys & Girls and 4-H Clubs with STEM activities for camps and other educational enrichment programs. While April is their targeted volunteer month, U.S. Cellular associates volunteer all year long to support various.
So if you ever wonder why a company decides to support an organization that you aren’t familiar with or think is too small, be sure to learn more about what the club or organization actually does. You might be surprised.
What is your favorite part of going to the fair?