What's the big deal about Young Living

Entering the World of 4-H

Do any of you have experience with 4-H?

Since we are moving to the country (Did you notice I did not  use the past tense verb "moved"?  That is because this is the most drawn out, extended, and postponed move in Smockity history, and since we have moved 12 times, that is saying something. Just know that I've been wearing the same single pair of pants for a solid week, and that whole "smiling in the face of adversity" thing? Yeah. Kicking my booty.) we figured we might as well jump into the agri-world with both feet.

We are attending a 4-H meeting next week to see if we will be able to show rabbits and goats.

Why, yes, I am crazy. Thank you very much for asking.

Since we have never done any 4-H projects or stock shows (or raised rabbits or goats for that matter), we are entering into this venture completely ignorant and lacking in experience.

So, sock it to me. If you have experience, advice, or tips for success, please leave them in the comments!

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  1. I have no advice, but I think it will be wonderful. I have been trying to get my girls involved with it for a year and they have been so lukewarm about it. I know it is a wonderful organization and we have many friends who are involved. My mom still tells stories about her 4-H days. And they have wonderful non-animal activities like sewing, cooking and public speaking:) Can’t wait to hear how it goes!!

  2. We have been members of 4-H for about 13 or more years. I have 4 children, the oldest 22, who have all been involved in it. It has only been a positive experience for all of us. I am currently a leader for our group, although I have done that off and on, depending on our situation for that year. We have not been involved with rabbits or goats, but have shown poultry for several years. There are so many areas of projects, you really can fit every child in whatever they are interested in. It is also an excellent way to accomplish “home-ec”. I really have nothing negative to say. If you have more questions, let me know. Check out a local meeting and make sure you find the right fit for your family. Usually there are several different local clubs that have room for new families and have expertise in different project areas. Our group is actually just a homeschooling family group, small in size. It is what works for us.

  3. When we moved to the country 6 years ago one of the first things my husband did was get us into 4-H. I was reluctant (“Do we really need one more thing to do?”), but now have no regrets. We’ve only done animals one year (milk goats) because having the animals there requires the owner be there each day of the fair. We are involved in many other ways though. This past year four of our children “held office” in their club. Between our six 4-Hers, they entered 29 projects this past July! I suggest you NOT wait until the last minute to complete these :) Some categories they’ve taken: scrap-booking, photography, creative dramatics (a judged talent show in which they sing and play instruments), forestry, cooking, creative writing, sewing, cake decorating, child development, models (cars and planes), wildlife, woodworking, geology and genealogy. We’ve learned a lot while serving others in our community. Have fun!

  4. I have no advice for you but will be watching avidly as we have toyed with these same idea here in our neck of the woods!

  5. You could start of with just trying out dog training with the 4H. The hood county area 4H definately has option of learning to care for , train, and show dogs. We signed up over the summer and went a few times but the non-summer meeting times became impossible for us to do.

  6. LEt us know how it goes, we are planning to get our girl to 4H when tehy get a bit older :-)

  7. Wanetta Stiers says:

    I have lived in Indiana all of my life. All of my siblings and my children were 10 year 4-H members, along with both sets of parents and grandparents were heavly involved in 4-H. It is a great expierence for teaching responsibility and leadership skills for young persons. I don’t know how things will work in your neck of the woods but my family still attends the local fair and Indiana State fair every year. I would reccomend 4-H to anyone. Good luck and enjoy.

  8. I did a stint in 4-H… if you count being dragged around the ring by an ornery sheep in pigtails… I was the one with the pigtails in case you were wondering 😉

    I loved my time in 4-H (Cake decorating mainly), but I now work with a lot of folks who had extensive 4-H experiences and I really feel like I missed out. So cool that your kiddos are joining the club and getting a taste of the country.

  9. 4-H is one of the most influential programs I have ever been involved with in my life. My husband and I were both 3rd generation 4-Hers and our oldest will start next year. Besides all of the amazing projects (and I took a lot of them from photography, foods, sewing and showing livestock including sheep, pigs, cattle, and rabbits), I gained numerous life skills from communication to teamwork. 4-H is a great family activity especially when it comes to showing livestock. I hope you will enjoy jumping into 4-H as it is definitely one of those programs that gives back all you give to it. It even helped pay for my college degree. Good luck!

  10. I was a 10 year 4-H member and then grew up to be a 4-H Educator. So, I might be biased, but I think your kids will love it. There is so much curriculum that also compliments homeschooling. The great thing about 4-H is that you can do as much or as little as you want to do. The livestock projects are so much more than showing at the fair. You learn so much about the animals plus those life skills like responsibility, hard work, record keeping, and on and on. The general projects are so diverse that every child can find something that interests them. I can’t wait to hear how the meeting goes!

  11. I was also a 10 year 4-H member and I loved every minute of it! Your kids will love it! There are so many different possibilities and projects available to help them learn leadership, responsibility, meet new friends and have fun!! I got to go on numerous leadership trips to DC and won numerous scholarships though my involvement in 4-H. I even showed rabbits for a couple of years!! Which lead to showing rabbits (and cows) and the State Fair! Some of my favorite memories of my family (mom especially) growing up involve 4-H, from working on our foods project together, to bickering about my clothing project to washing cows at 5 in the morning on show day! Best of Luck! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  12. Count me in as a 10-year 4-Her, too! I loved every minute of it! Yes, I showed livestock — no rabbits or goats, tho, sorry — but even beyond the cattle and pigs, there’s so much more to 4-H than just “agri” stuff. It could very easily be the best thing you all do as a family. 4-H, much like so many other things, is only as good as what you put into it. If your kiddo wants to go all in with 4-H, there are camps and leadership trainings and youth development trainings — much more than just the local fair and some posters. (unless the local fair and poster projects are your thing, that’s great, too!) Can’t wait to see what you and the fam get into… it’s a whole lot of fun!!

  13. 4-H is so much more than rabbits and goats, you know. We live in a suburb of Chicago and, although some people do enter there agricultural critters, we usually stick to visual arts or sewing projects. Even photography and cooking are eligible projects. The opportunities are nearly endless when you look further at electronics and computer options. So, broaden your horizons and jump in! Welcome. There is room for everyone (8 and over by Sept. 1, that is.) I’m sure this first year will hook you! Enjoy.

  14. I was not involved in 4-H growing up, but my husband was. He was a 10-year member, and is now a 4-H Club Leader. Kids in 4-H learn responsibility (by taking care of their animals or putting together their other projects) and leadership skills. My husband was able to earn money from selling his animals at the “auctions” at the end of the fair that he put towards paying for college. His advice is to look around at the different 4-H groups in your area and find one that fits you and your family. As with any other activity, it is what you make of it, but I think your whole family will get a lot out of the 4-H experience! Have fun!

  15. I was NOT in 4-H and it’s one of my BIGGEST regrets about growing up. Seriously. When I was young, there was only one girl in my class in 4H, but when I went to the “big” school for JH/HS, ALL my friends were. They let me tag along on some trips, but I am so sad I missed out on all the experiences. My husband showed cattle in 4H and was part of 43 years of consecutive cattle showing by his family. My little guy (2) will definitely be in 4H. We are thinking about letting him show a bottle lamb next summer after he turns 3 (although it won’t be an official part of the 4H program.)

    Anyway, I would STRONGLY suggest it! It’s one of those decisions that your kids aren’t equipped to make at their age, and they might regret it later! At least have them try it!

  16. We live in an apartment and not showing live stock, but 4-H is still great for us. There is so much more to 4-H than just livestock. My daughter does dog obedience and showmanship, small animal, there are a number of indoor projects from crafts to electric, to aerospace. There is bicycle rodeo, share the fun talent shows, special things during Easter, Halloween, and being involved in 4-H during the fair is a lot of work but great fun.

  17. I was in 4-H for 9 years and loved it! I concentrated my projects mostly on sewing and cooking… and no livestock, although others in our club did show goats and rabbits and loved it! I’m looking forward to my girls getting involved in our local club here- several of our homeschooling friends are in already- but must admit I am a litle intimidated because this club’s focus does seem to be more on livestock showing, albeit small livestock, such as rabbits and goats, rather than cows, sheep, horses, etc. We live in a more rural area than I did in my childhood- okay we live way out in the woods and I grew up in a “development”- so I’m more open to the idea of small livestock, but still a bit overwhelmed by it all. I have a few more years to work the idea through my head… I think we’ll get there!

  18. it’s probably just as well that you aren’t totally aware of what you’re getting into. otherwise, you’d probably give yourself a good talking to, and convince yourself that it’s a crazy idea, and what was i thinking anyway?
    just sayin’…
    (but totally nothing against 4-H. our youngest is ready to start that next summer, and we’ll be jumping in with both feet. it’s jsut that with living in the country, and having livestock and such, it’s best that you just immerse yourself slowly. cause if we all knew then what we know now, it would be a whole different story.)
    just sayin’…

  19. I did 4-H from the time I turned… 10? 9? 8? until I was too old. I can’t remember but I know how much I enjoyed it! Getting the projects and record books completed in time for the fair is always kind of stressfull but I wouldn’t have traded it. I LOVED it. My favorite was goats. I started with goats and did goat 4-H for quite a few years. I loved showing goats so much that I entered some of our registered purebred goats in ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association) shows within driving distance. I learned so much about them that random strangers would call saying they got our number from so-and-so as people who knew goats and they had a questions about __ and then Mom would pass the phone to me to answer their questions. It was a great confidence boost for a super shy kid like me. :) Then we moved to a new area where they were out in the boonies and the judges would score things wrong, like totally against what it says in the 4-H books and such. When we moved there was only one other family doing goat 4-H and they did it every year and the judge knew them and they did it the wrong way that the judge liked and so they won. So I stopped doing goat 4-H because knowing that no matter how right you do it, it’s gonna be wrong because the judge likes it wrong and you’re gonna loose… well it kind of sucked the fun right out of it.
    I also did sewing, crochet, pigs, and steers also in my 4-H years. Sewing while doing goats, then after the move I took crochet for a year and finished out my 4-H years doing steers and pigs for the money. Doing a steer or pig you can clear $1,000 or more at the sale at the end. That’s how I bought my car. But it’s a tremendous amount of work doing a pig or steer and they can be dangerous because they’re so big. I wouldn’t advise it for younger kids, but it’s a great project for older teens because it’s good hard work and the money at the end is great for putting toward things like a first car.
    Anyway I’m rambling, but just saying I loved it. 4-H is great. Really great. And I think goats are the best animal project for beginner 4-H-ers. It’s addicting. It’s hard to pick which projects to take each year.
    My advice is to only allow each kid to pick ONE thing each the first year and TWO per year per kid after that. It gets too stressfull at the end trying to complete multiple projects and finish up the record books and get to all the shows and judgings at the right times. Two projects is more than enough. My parents had a rule that if you pick something to start you finish it out. Your word is to be kept. So if we wanted to do a certain project at the start of the year but wanted to drop out halfway through the year we could not. We had to finish out the year. Once we went to that first meeting our commitment was made and that was that. I think it’s a good rule. :)

  20. http://www.homesteadingtoday.com

    has wonderful forums and great great people chock full of advice even in an emergency..

    their goat and their rabbit forums are beyond great…kid friendly for the most part, beginners advice and etc..

  21. I was in 4H as a kid although I never did the livestock side of it. (I lived in town, so we did not have animals.) I loved it. Through 4H, I experienced a lot of good things. I might have been able to experience them through other organizations, but…
    My father had been in 4H and his father (and mother) before him, so it was an experience that had family ties.
    Keeping record books taught me about planning, saving, and the value of remembering the journey. There was a “contest” for sewing where you modeled what you made. (I can not remember the official name for this event.) As a young seamstress (6th grade), I remember being wowed at how well the high school girls could sew and make anything they wanted. I am still wowed by that. :) The most meaningful experience for me was the presentation/speech competitions. I did presentations on a variety of things and it was in 4H that I learned the skills to speak in public (starting at age 9).
    It is a great organization! I am sure you will enjoy it.

  22. We did our first year of 4-H this year and really loved it. We don’t have animals, but we did lots of other great projects. One of my kids did child development, microwave cooking, electricity, and horseless horsemanship. Another kiddo did microwave cooking, electricity, and photography. They got all blue ribbons and had one project go to state fair (and got a blue ribbon). We’re all looking forward to next year!

  23. Our family is involved in a different way. We have a small farm where we raise and sell show pigs. So, we know most of the local FFA and 4-H groups. Our kids are still little but our 4 year old is already talking about taking animals to the fair. Fair is this week here and it’s a blast. Great experience for the kids (so much better than video games).

  24. sillygeese says:

    Not from a 4-H perspective, just from always being around animals, make sure you and your kids are prepared for the fact that no matter how right you do things, some animals may die. Goats and rabits get sick, over heated, spider or snake bits, etc… Just make sure you have a talk about this before you purchase the baby animal.

  25. I would advise about 2 things to a 4h newbie:
    If you plan on auctioning a goat, find out about the requirements before picking the goat (Our market goats have to be born after a certain time of year, among other rules.)
    Second, be prepared for the 4h-er to record everything from the beginning of the 4h year. And I mean everything (cost of animal, amount animal eats etc.) And start the record book early, long before it is due.

  26. I think 4-H is really great too. Here it is very inexpensive and they have a lot of projects to choose from. We did our books by ourselves this year and didn’t enter anything into the fair, since we were getting our feet wet.

    I am going to clarify next year if I can just do these with my son and just have the leader sign off that it is done before the fair, I am not really wanting to do the group thing so much, even though it is good, I don’t want another evening meeting.

  27. 4-H provided the greatest bonding activity that my Dad and I ever experienced. It also provided me with the skills of being responsible for another living thing that needed consistent care. Taken back over twenty years my father had the idea to purchase a show cow for us to participate, the time didn’t seem quite right-an oilfield crisis and a tight income didn’t seem to go along with purchasing a $1200 that ate lots of feed, but he did it anyway and I will always be thankful. We had a great time caring for it together and sharing our time and interest.

    The most important thing was that we both wanted to do it and I- the participant did most of the work w/his guidance. I think that is key if the child is not interested and the parent does all the work then the purpose is defeated.

    Best of luck in what ever you choose! I think yall are awesome!

  28. Wyoming Mom says:

    I think your experience with 4-H can vary greatly based on the extension agent and leadership in a given area. Where we moved from we had a great 4-H agent and good leadership. Unfortunately we now live in an area that I would say is much less than good. The extension agent has changed 4 times in those 6 years (the position was vacant for several months as well). The 4-H leadership is a clique that does not want help from “new people” – we have been here now 6 years and we are still considered “new”. In all honesty if we had not had good experiences with 4-H in our former residence I would have trouble saying that it is a good program. Instead I will say that it is a good program but open to a lot of local politics that can make it not fun for kids or adults.