This is the first news article I’ve written for the Muleshoe Journal after being here a little over a year-and-a-half. Really it came as an idea as I’ve been struggling to get a 4-H newsletter done for well over a couple weeks, so this should suffice. That newsletter was to focus on the importance of 4-H year-end achievement programs and to give a glimpse to present and future 4-H families of how they are planned and conducted in order to recognize the accomplishments of members and leaders alike during this past 4-H year. Typically, these are held in July and August, and although we haven’t had one, I’m aware of how I want them to look when we do have them again. I say this with caution, because I know many families here in Bailey County who remember attending these when their kids were involved in 4-H many years ago, thus I promise we are working towards having these again in the near future.
So, as I think about banquets or achievement programs, or whatever moniker people choose to call them, I think back about the ones I attended many moons ago as a little 4-H member in big ‘ol Lubbock County. We would dress up and go to the PCCCA conference center and sit with friends from the Roosevelt 4-H club and have a good time. It is where we listened to a speech or two, clapped for our friends receiving awards, and wondered who the leaders were who were being honored. Also, for some reason, I will never forget that it was the place that I first ate lamb! As I sit here now, I’m in awe of how much that sticks with me. I still have many childhood friends that I network with even though we are all so very spread out. If anything, that yearly banquet was a place to see them all at the same time, not knowing that we would all spread our wings someday, with only those memories etched into our brain, which to this day are major talking points when we see each other at stock shows or meetings.
You might ask where I’m going with this. Here’s my answer. Bailey County has a rich 4-H tradition from years past. I hear stories about people who have gone to camps, judging contests, Roundup, received scholarships, and everything in between. Our goal is to get back to that, and by looking forward to the younger generations who are attending our workshops and events, we are certainly in for a busy next few years! I only hope that the parents who entrust us with educating their kids are as excited about what the future holds as we are. (Sidebar-if you are reading this and are a parent of a 4-H member or Cloverkid, I personally want to thank you for getting your child involved, AND am looking forward to you be involved in any role you can help us with!)
Last night, I was beaming with pride for the county and town I chose to take my career to. The pride in Muleshoe is unmatched. I get it. Or I thought I did. I grew up in a place the same size as Muleshoe and I know all small towns have pride. But here, it’s different. I am incredibly thankful that through ups and downs, the people here choose to remain positive and back the youth. It doesn’t matter if it’s at the county stock show or in the stands on Friday nights, you all keep the magic alive and that helps our kids to achieve.
In turn, your 4-H program will be encouraged to achieve because of those who came before and continue to support. I like themes for the year, so this year it will be “Encouraging the Future by Honoring the Past.” You better believe that although September 1 is the beginning of a new 4-H year, that I am outlining plans for the achievement program in July of 2022, and I want to be able to look back and know that the pride and magic that I just referred to will be even brighter as we honor the accomplishments of those within the program.
With all that being said, I invite you to attend our 4-H kickoff event in September, if you are a new or returning 4-H family, or heck, if you just want to stop by and show your support for the new families! After all, like they say, it takes a village… and our village just happens to be Muleshoe, and man, we are blessed by that!
Texas A&M AgriLife County Extension Agent, Ag/Natural Resources- Bailey County