Last year Appling County 4-H Agent Becky Collins contacted me about writing a short story about my years of experience in Georgia 4-H. The title of the story was “I Am Georgia 4-H”. I really enjoyed writing about my experiences in the organization.
My oldest son Cole has become active in 4-H and I couldn’t be happier about his decision to make 4-H a part of his life. This past weekend Amy and I traveled with Cole to Rock Eagle for the State 4-H BB Competition. Fourteen Appling County 4-H shooters traveled to Rock Eagle to participate in the event against 80 teams from across the state. I am proud to report that the Bulldawgs of Appling County placed 19th; a great accomplishment considering the local team is still very young consisting of mostly fifth and sixth graders competing against seventh and eighth graders from other communities.
During the event I tried to identify with some of my childhood memories of the locale, but really struggled to identify with Rock Eagle as the scenery and some of the buildings had changed.
As we started to leave I decided to ride through the camp to see if I could identify with any of the areas. Turn after turn it was like someone had erased my many memories at the camp I’d traveled to on numerous occasions. But as we made one final turn, there it was...one of the cabins I had resided in for a week, during summer camp, as a young man and all the memories came flooding back. I explained to Cole and Amy some of my experiences during my years in 4-H. Some of the memories included where I did my photography demonstration in the auditorium, the location of the original cafeteria or where the guys and I would hide at night trying to scare the gals on their way back to their cabins. Of course I left out some of my mean-spirited memories for fear that my child might follow in his father’s footsteps. These memories included taking the water-charged fire extinguisher in the cabin and using it as a water gun (man that thing could shoot a stream of water) or how we would take a bowl of warm water and place the fingers of an unsuspecting and asleep camper in the bowl just to see if he would wet the bed.
I now know that our camp agents/volunteers were some pretty special people. Can you imagine taking a group of teens and pre-teens to camp for a week? Thanks to folks like Jerry Pullen, Becky Collins and the many volunteers that watched over us throughout the years and helped to shape my, and countless others, character.
If your child comes to you and asks to participate in 4-H, do not hesitate. It is by far one of the best programs available to build character in children that will last them a lifetime.