September 2006
4-H Extension Corner



Welcome back to school after a super busy summer. If you are like me, you needed the break! I know that most of you with livestock projects are busy preparing for the fall show circuit. If you don’t have projects, please go out to your county fairs and support your local youth. Take the kids or grandkids and let them know where our food supply really comes from. It will be fun for the whole family.

Please, remember our military men and women that are fighting daily for the freedom that we so richly enjoy. Pray for our government leaders as they make decisions that will affect the future of our kids and grandkids.

Every parent sees some part of themselves repeated in their children. Sometimes it can be a little startling, like the "colorful language" you may have used when some knucklehead pulled in front of you on the highway. More often though, it’s the personal traits that you project in your everyday life. If you are kind and patient, your child will pick up on that. If you spend time reading and learning, your child will be far more enthusiastic about education and personal growth. If you eat well and make time for exercise, your child will make the same choices you make.

The notion of "do as I say, not as I do" has never carried much weight. Children learn by imitation: whether we like it or not, they do as we do. University research shores up the importance of that idea. Teens who have role models, people who serve as good examples, get higher grades and feel better about themselves. That same research also notes that only half of teens report that they have role models who they want to imitate.

In 4-H, we have always recognized the need for kids to have adults who will spend time with them, listen to them, and demonstrate what it is like to be a good adult. University research finds that parents and other relatives were named as role models more often than anyone else. Surprisingly perhaps, almost as many kids identified media figures (actors, musicians, athletes or politicians) as their role models.

The always-quotable Charles Barkley once made waves when he observed: "I don’t believe professional athletes should be role models. I believe parents should be role models." Well like it or not, athletes are going to be role models. Whether they use steroids or eat lots of fresh vegetables, there will be young people who copy them. When they take a "win at any price" attitude, there will be young people who will accept their philosophy as gospel.

Kids can’t raise themselves; schools and churches can’t raise our kids; television and popular culture certainly can’t raise kids; and there are far too many young people whose own parents are out of the picture for one reason or another.

Politicians, teachers, ministers, and even 4-H agents and volunteers are all given a certain responsibility that we need to keep in mind. If those "models of good character" have ethical lapses, if we try to bend the rules, so will the kids. If we are optimistic, honorable in word and deed, and supportive of others, kids within our influence will be too.

Kids have lots of choices these days. They can be responsible or irresponsible. They can be mean-spirited or generous, hard-working or lazy. Very often, the options they choose will be the same choices that the adults around them make.

That is all the more reason for us to not only do what is right, it’s a good reason for us to be involved in the lives of those kids who may be lacking good examples in their lives.

I have included photos of our 4-H State Competition winners, below. Congratulations to all that participated, helped and advised during the year to prepare for these events. I want to give a BIG THANK YOU to Bob Ebert for all of his time and effort setting up and facilitating these important events. I think this really helps our youth grow in Ag based fields.

Until next time, God Bless!

James Shropshire is the Alabama 4-H Regional Extension Agent for the Central Alabama Region. E-mail him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..






 
2006 STATE 4-H AGRI-KNOWLEDGE CONTEST
The State 4-H Agri-Knowledge Contest Overall first place winner was the Autauga County team. Pictured with the winners is (far left) Dr. Lamar Nichols, Extension Assistant Director for 4-H and Youth Development; Jessie Pittman; Clayton Spencer, Advisor; Hannah Hardaway; Nic Hilyer; Gina Pittman, Volunteer Leader; and Blake Shropshire. The Houston County team won second place Overall. The Tuscaloosa County team won third place Overall. Winners in the High Individual Overall were first: Nic Hilyer, Autauga County; second: Jessie Pittman, Autauga County; third: Wendy Pittman, Autauga County; fourth: Reba Hicks, Houston County and fifth: Brad Baker, Houston County.
2006 STATE 4-H LIVESTOCK JUDGING CONTEST
The State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest was held on July 21 at Ham Wilson Arena on the Auburn University campus. The Cullman County team won first place Overall. The team will represent Alabama at the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest in Louisville, KY, in November. (From left) Dr. Lamar Nichols, Extension Assistant Director for 4-H and Youth Development; Lauren Roberts; Randy Wilkins, Advisor; Corey Wilkins; Rusty Roden, Advisor; Heath Lake and, not pictured, Caleb Elrod. Morgan County was second and Autauga County was third. Winners in the High Individual Overall were first: Corey Wilkins, Cullman County; second: Caleb Elrod, Cullman County; third: Josh Melson, Morgan County; fourth: Jessie Pittman, Autauga County and fifth: Ethan Lake, Cullman County.
2006 STATE 4-H MEATS JUDGING CONTEST
The State 4-H Meats Judging Contest was held on July 21 at Ham Wilson Arena on the Auburn University campus. The Coffee County team won first place Overall. The team will represent Alabama at the National 4-H Meats Judging Contest held at Kansas State University in the fall. (From left) Dr. Lamar Nichols, Extension Assistant Director for 4-H and Youth Development; Keri Flowers; Donna Flowers; Brianna Bailey; Tierney Sparks; Tori Stone; Brandon Bell; and Stan Windham, Coffee County Extension Coordinator. The Houston County team won second place Overall. Winners in the High Individual Overall were first: Tori Stone, Coffee County; second: Donna Flowers, Coffee County; third: Tierney Starks, Coffee County; fourth: Madison Morrow, Houston County and fifth: Brad Baker, Houston County.