Anyone currently active in Texas 4H?

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greybeard
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Anyone currently active in Texas 4H?

Postby greybeard » Sat May 09, 2015 6:15 pm

Looking for some advice or input regarding 4H in Texas--not sure who to approach it with. I'll probably want to take the specifics to Private Message if anyone in Texas responds, tho I suppose since it's a national organization, others might be able to guide me in the right direction and get this bad taste out of my mouth........ (yeah, I know--pretty vague, but not ready to speak too publiclly about it till I know "the lay of the land" so to speak.)
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Luca Brasi
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Re: Anyone currently active in Texas 4H?

Postby Luca Brasi » Sat May 09, 2015 10:22 pm

I'm far from Texas, but in talking with people from other parts of the country, both in and out of 4h, many of the same problems seem to be widespread. To put it nicely, I am not a fan of 4h at all, and I'm not shy about saying so, despite often being dubbed an ogre by those who have a fantasy mentality about the organization simply because it is associated with children, but who simply do not or cannot see the farce which it often is.
Yes, it is a national organization, but with very little oversight or control over each local club. Each club is pretty much independent to develop it's own rules, policies and organizational structure, and this can vary greatly, even within the same state or county. The deciding factor is simply the opinions, knowledge (or lack of) and influence of each individual club's leader or leaders. I know a few knowledgeable, intelligent people who are leaders in other parts of the country who I imagine run excellent clubs, which are an asset and which actually teach the children what is important. In my area there is one like that as well, and from my persepective it seems like they are 4h in name only, associating for the insurance benefits and the funding, but ignoring most of the nonsense and BS which has taken over 4h. The majority of the other local clubs are run mostly by ex-suburban soccer mom types who have little practical knowledge about livestock, but have all sorts of wonderful self esteem lessons dreamed up for their little darlings. Probably my biggest criticism is that they are all about it being fun, and fun only. Read: hard work and a long term committment is not fun. Every child gets a ribbon just for showing up. Even the laziest, most disinterested child gets praised up and down for the slightest thing that he did right. (In high squeaky voice): "Ohhhh, Johnny, your calf had access to water for the entire length of the fair!! What a good job!!! Here's a ribbon." Nothing is said about it's lack of training, condition or cleanliness. The 4h mommies really don't like it, but neither do they have an adequate answer when I ask where else can someone go in this world and expect to get a reward just for showing up, especially since 4h claims to be all about teaching life lessons? They like it even less when I give them the answer, which is the welfare office.
This attitude isn't anything that is restricted to 4h. Many of the public schools are adopting this tactic too, doing away with grades and competition. As an employer I've noticed having to deal with the product of their self esteem building mentality more and more in the last ten years or so. I imagine that many college professors and other employers are as well.
I have seen much better results and children who actually work hard and get rewarded for it, (and even have a good time doing it, believe it or not) when they ignore 4h and enter the junior competitions of the national livestock organizations. Sometimes even entering the open classes depending on the situation, and losing, provides lessons that all of the hugs and happy clapping cannot. Imagine what it does for their self esteem when they occasionally even win against the adults. If I could bottle it, it would soon be labled a controlled subtance, because every 4h mommie would be buying it and having the children OD on it. Of course mostly because it wouldn't take any effort, and Jimmy could do it in between video games.
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Re: Anyone currently active in Texas 4H?

Postby VCC » Mon May 11, 2015 10:33 am

Each area has a district office, if you are having issues with a club look up the district they’re in and contact them.
Like most youth clubs it is the adults that can make or ruin it for the kids, I have seen it in baseball, football, 4H, FFA, as well as the any other club. 4-H clubs are as good as the people running them; if they’re in it for themselves then it can get ugly. Just like any other youth organization, there are highly competitive groups as well as the “everyone’s a winner” groups. If you have children involved and you want it to be educational and the kids to work for what they receive then get involved and make it so.
We live in a small area but have 4 clubs, because the adults could not get along, one club was focused on livestock, they did not have a sewing group are small animal group, other club was all the non ag type stuff, the other 2 were just families that did not get along well with others so they started clubs, you ask questions and find the group that fits your needs.
As far as everyone’s a winner our fair gives everyone a ribbon but they are not all blue, blue: meets or exceeds market standards, red and bellow: do not meet the standards you leave the ring early and back to the pens. My sons have had both the first out and the last one in the ring, they learned if you did not want to be out early you had to put in the work. The last few years is showed.
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BC
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Re: Anyone currently active in Texas 4H?

Postby BC » Sat May 23, 2015 8:16 pm

GB, I was a county agent here in Texas for 29 years and taught ag for 6 years before that. I will try to help you.
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