When I say FFA or 4-H, most people think of groups for country kids, which actually is a misconception. Today more and more kids from inside city limits are joining these organizations and creating their own projects. Below are a few reasons why I believe kids should do an FFA/4-H Project, and I shared a couple of my own stories too!
- Hard work pays off in the end: When I was little, I started in 4-H, but when I started high school, it was my goal to join FFA. My first project I had was actually working in the high school greenhouse taking caring of the plants there. I entered vegetables into contests at my county and state fair my sophomore year. I won many ribbons with some champions and reserve champions. I was very proud as I spent every day during the summer watering the plants, pulling weeds and picking ripe vegetables.
- Hard work and responsibility go together: For a couple of years, I was a part a project that focused on taking care of pigs, and I can’t say this was simple, but I did learn a lot! For this project, I raised the pigs from a feeder pig, which weighs about 20 pounds, in May till the end of state fair in September as market ready hogs, which weighs about 275 pounds. I built the pens they were housed in with help from my dad, went out every morning and night to feed and check waters. I also worked with them by walking every other day and washing them, mainly getting my pigs used to me and building a relationship with my pigs. On the really hot days I even made an extra trip to cool down the pigs and wet their dirt.
- Real budgeting and money management: I can’t tell you how many times I checked my accounts to make sure I had enough money to go get feed and supplies. I can remember waiting until after I got paid to go get feed.
- Do what you love: Last year, was the best year of my whole show career, as I was Large Animal Round Robin Champion, my county’s representative in Elite Showmanship at state fair, and I showed the 2014 FFA Grand Champion Market Gilt as well as Champion Futurity Market Gilt, and was Champion Senior Showman. I put time, effort, and dedication that summer to achieve all of those awards. I remember spending the Sunday morning before the round robin show, learning from other showers and parents how to show a certain species as I had only shown pigs and sheep before that. I stayed calm and took a deep breath during each round of showmanship. When I penned my hog I received a round of applause for my hard work and calm demeanor.
- Rewards are more than ribbons: I learned in the end if you put time, effort and dedication into something you love, there are rewards. That’s why I believe an FFA or 4-H project is something every kid should do, because it has so much learning not only about that area of study from livestock to home economics, but also lessons of hard work, patience, management skills and so many more. As I look back now even though it’s only been a year, I still use the lessons I learned in helping my studies in college and everyday life. Having trophies, banners, and ribbons is great, but they don’t always stay in your life. Mine are scattered all throughout my house gathering dust, they are a great reminder of accomplishments I have made, but they remind me of the lessons I learned during my years of showing and doing projects.
This is why I believe every kid should do at least one FFA or 4-H project because it is not only tailored to what the kids what to do but teaches valuable lessons to be used for the rest of their life