Blue Ribbon Youth

— Written By

Hannah McGowan fits her steer for the show!

The familiar early morning smell of feed and hay is returning for 4-H’ers this month. A new year means new animals for Livestock youth across the county as they start the 2017 livestock season. While other students are still asleep, warm in their beds, 4-H’ers are carefully measuring feed, washing, brushing, and walking their goats, lambs, hogs, and steers, and patiently working towards those blue ribbons on show day; painting a perfect picture of American pride and hard work. However, 4-H isn’t about growing blue ribbon animals, it is about growing blue ribbon youth.

Ruthie Glass awaits her name to be called during the livestock show awards ceremony.

Through the livestock program, and the many other 4-H programs throughout the year, 4-H’ers are gaining a variety of skills to help them grow into successful adults. The 9-year-old who concurs the 1,500-pound steer certainly walks away with better self-confidence. The 18-year-old who, after years of 4-H Project Record books organizing and tallying every income, expense, accomplishment, and note definitively feels more prepared to balance a check book, fill out college and job applications, and create a resume. The shy 5-year-old Cloverbud participant gains a friend and confidant in their show goat, and then is able to share that excitement and passion with another livestock child, creating lifelong friendships. The list of skills to be gained goes on and on: science, math, goal-setting, teamwork, responsibility, perseverance, determination.

There is little wonder why 4-H has long been the largest youth organization in the North Carolina, and the nation with over 6 million youth participating annually. Supported in North Carolina by NC State University and NC A&T University, recent research shows that 4-H’ers are more likely to plan to go to college than their peers, less likely to engage in risky behavior, and have more confidence and higher grades. In addition, 4-H’ers are nearly 4 times as likely to make contributions to their communities than their peers, twice as likely to be civically active, and twice as likely to participate in science programs outside of school.

4-H is currently accepting applications for the 59th Annual 4-H Livestock Show which will be held on May 3rd, 2017 at the Plymouth Livestock Barn. Interested parents and youth should contact Laura Oliver, 4-H and Youth Development Agent, at the Extension Office by phone at 793-2163 or by email at Livestock Show applications are due to the Extension Office no later than January 31st.

Applications and more information for the livestock show can be found on our Washington County 4-H Livestock Show page: