My youngest sister Kaley’s final 4-H county fair is next week, and as a result, it’s crunch time for our family as we help her work on her show calves, practice her speeches, complete projects, fill out exhibit cards, update her record book, and load the stock trailer with feed and show supplies.
With the hustle and bustle that is county fair season, it’s easy to get bogged down with stress and forget the reason why 4-H and FFA are such important programs for today’s youth.
4-H and FFA are about instilling life skills our nation’s youth will need to become tomorrow’s leaders. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s not about trophies, purple ribbons and whether or not the judge was right on show day. It’s about so much more.
Kaley’s speech for the public speaking contest this year centers around the 4-H Character Counts program, which talks about the six pillars of character that kids can learn in 4-H and apply to their adult lives. These six pillars are responsibility, respect, caring, fairness, trustworthiness and citizenship.
In light of the political mudslinging that’s going on right now as the next U.S. presidential election heats up, it’s refreshing to know that there is hope for the next generation of leaders and that these all-important lessons are being instilled in today’s youth.
I believe a seventh pillar of Character Counts should be added, and that pillar should be “advocacy.” I recently ran across a video interview with the Peterson brothers — the Kansas farm boys who earned fame and respect for their YouTube videos that tell their agricultural story to the tunes of popular songs. Their videos have been viewed millions of times over, and at a recent 4-H event, the Peterson brothers shared how they have become advocates and encouraged the 4-H youth to follow their lead.
“It’s not just a few of us who should be advocates,” says Greg Peterson. “It’s going to take all of us to make a difference.”
Watch the video below and let me know what you think.
How can we place more focus on developing our nation’s youth to become strong leaders? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.
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