Responsibility, not rainmaking

I think we can all agree with country music star Luke Bryan when he sings, “But where I come from, rain is a good thing.”

As we officially enter the summer season, we can only hope the skies above will start raining down on us. The dry climate puts great stress on our area farmers and ranchers. It cannot be overemphasized how important water is to our environment. It is the responsibility of everyone to do their best to conserve and manage this most precious resource.

The La Plata County 4-H Youth Development program strives to instill a strong sense of responsibility in our members. This is done with a variety of approaches. At an early age, members are expected to belong and participate in a local club. In addition, they successfully complete a 4-H year by finishing a project record book, attending an interview about their project, giving a demonstration to their peers and participating in a community service or service-learning activity. Furthermore, as members continue in the program, they are encouraged to take on more responsibility through becoming officers in their club and on a regional and state level.

These requirements can sometimes be very challenging and difficult. So we look to provide effective leadership and life skills trainings to build confidence to support our members. The rewards of responsibility are shown through the hard work our youths and adult members exhibit. Hard work builds talents and awareness of working together for a greater good. By belonging to this organization and having the responsibility of common struggles, challenges and goals, our members have a unique perspective of what it takes to be a part of a greater community.

Last week, I was able to witness this hard work in action. The Florida 4-Leaf Club hosted a Fun Festival at the Florida Grange. Club leader Kali Fassett helped organize and plan an opportunity for her members to have a meet-and-greet dinner with members of the community who are potential livestock buyers for the upcoming La Plata County Fair. Local businesses, banks, farmers and ranchers attended the event. Youth members were responsible for introducing themselves and talking to visitors about their projects and involvement in 4-H. Overall, it was a great way to establish strong youth adult partnerships through dialogue and build community through civic engagement.

This week, 18 La Plata County 4-H members and I are up at Colorado State University in Fort Collins for our annual 4-H State Conference. They are participating in contests related to their projects and attending workshops from motivational speakers about a variety of important leadership topics. These members will then have the responsibility to share what they learned and experienced to our members who could not attend.

Next week, we will have our local general projects day on Tuesday and livestock day on June 28 at the Extension office and Fairgrounds. Members please call to RSVP.

Finally, I have my dancing shoes on, so please, please, please: Let it rain. or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.