The Value of the 4H Youth Fair

I just delivered my girls entries to the Erath County 4H Youth Fair. I am writing this post BEFORE awards happen. On purpose. Because the value of this contest is not in the ribbons and the awards. Yes, they are nice. Yes, they motivate us to get the projects finished. But the value of this contest is so much more than a 1st Prize or Best of Show.

As a newcomer to the world of 4H, we are still learning all about the various contests and opportunities for our kids. I am constantly amazed at the many projects they can participate in and experience. All of the projects, be it painting, drawing, sewing, cooking, fashion, decision making, acting, showing animals and more have actual REAL LIFE applications. Unlike so many of the manufactured and virtual experiences that seem to pull focus because of the glitz and technology, 4H projects and contests make my girls think!! I love that.

So what did Lexi and Kylie compete in this year for the fair?

Well, Kylie is in her last year as a Clover Kid. (K-2nd grade). Kylie turned in three photographs, a drawing, a repurposed craft and a snack! Clover Kids don’t win anything, but they start learning about the rules and meeting deadlines.

Lexi is in the Intermediate division (6th-8th grades). Lexi turned in all 5 categories of photographs, made a textile, a jewelry set and a snack.

So what does all of that really mean?

It means lots of planning, organizing and work on the part of the kids and the mom! Yesterday after school, gymnastics, a band parent meeting and dinner, Lexi had to finish the hem of her cape and both girls had to make their snacks.

Then we had to do all of the paper work and packaging. It would have been really nice to just say the heck with it. But we entered, we paid the fees, and we committed to the process, so it didn’t matter that it was late and we were tired.

You finish what you start!

This morning as I delivered the entries, I was tired. All the parents were. ūüôā But the camaraderie was overwhelming. In so many competitions, it is stressful and everyone is against each other. In our county (and I think 4H in general) the parents help each other. My hands were full, the registration lines were long, and I was running late. A mom who was finished getting her daughter’s work entered walked up, took the bulk from my arms, stood in line with me and helped me get my girl’s entries where they needed to go. She didn’t have to do that. Our daughter’s compete against each other. But that isn’t the world of 4H. I love that.

And here are our entries. Ready for judging!! I am so proud of my girls for their hard work. And I’m so¬†thankful that¬†our community supports the work of 4H and is committed to teaching students that learning is so much more than what happens inside a school building.

 

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Goals for 2017

I’m a big fan of setting goals. ¬†Not so much resolutions, as those seem to be out of reach, never gonna happen goals… like never eating sugar again. Talk about a set up for failure. But attainable goals, absolutely!

This also means that my children are asked to consider what they want to accomplish for the year. We are a goal oriented household. ¬†Why? Because as I explained to a family member, if you don’t set a goal how can you evaluate how you spent your year?! Having goals also helps focus your efforts and keeps you from floundering from one thing/event/activity to the next.

So for 2017, my goals are:

  1. 1000 miles of cardio, 2 minute plank and the splits.
  2. Bench press 80% of my body weight
  3. 6 races (1/2 marathon and/or triathlons)
  4. Lower BMI by 15% (yes, this one is going to be tough)
  5. Read all of Psalms, Proverbs, Romans and the Gospels
  6. Complete the course work for my superintendent certificate

The rest of my household created equally rigorous goals for themselves. My only requirement on my girl’s goals were that they had to be something that wasn’t necessarily achievable in January.

We also have to update¬†our Frantic Family board with a new rallying cry. If you haven’t ready 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family, you should!!! ¬†Here is the board from last year.

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What is great about this is that we could look back to the board and see how we accomplished so many of our Defining Objectives!

My plan is to make a pretty board this year! Add it to my list…

So there you have it. My challenge to you is that if you haven’t written down any goals for the year, do it. Don’t get tied up in resolutions. Make plans to achieve your goals!