There are certain things that reaffirm for me I'm doing right as a parent. 4H is one of them. The kids work so hard with their projects and can't wait for County Fair week. It is everything "americana" and so much more. I heard it quoted recently that if only more kids were involved in 4H that our crime rates would be virtually non-existent. I could never say enough good things about what my kids have gained from being involved in this program.
And Moms, this isn't just a rural program. 4H is everywhere. Even in the heart of downtown Chicago at very urban schools. They offer projects in robotics, electronics, mechanics, sports, nutrition, child care, sewing, baking, environmental sciences. There is TONS of stuff the kids can choose for projects and amazing life lessons to be learned with each one.
Our county fair was just a week and a few days ago and the Two Peas and my Sprout showed sheep for their first time. It was fabulous. The Peas purchased two market lambs with their own money. They paid for all the materials to build them a sun and rain shelter and fenced in area next to our barn. They paid for all the feed bills. This was their very own business. And in the end, after the livestock shows and finally the sale, they ended up $32 in the hole. Almost breaking even. It was an excellent lesson in investing, hard work and business.
I kept looking at my husband as they girls were going over their receipts and winking at him, asking, "Are you SURE we aren't going to help them with any of these bills??". And the answer was a firm, NO. This is a lesson in business. Of course, we will find a way to reward them for their months and months of hard work. 5:30am feedings that we never had to nudge them to do - they just got up and did it everyday on their own. But he wanted the lesson to sting a little, to feel what it was, which was an almost break even investment.
And the Peas were ok with that. And they can't wait to do it all over again. Because what they learned from the experience was more priceless than any monetary gain they could have gotten from selling their sheep.
Here are a few highlights from our 4H projects this year and our county fair. Candy making, archery, savvy shopping and sheep.