LEWISTOWN - 4-H means a lot more than head, heart, hands and health. It means getting up early to feed your animals, working with them when it's hot or cold and even when you do not want to.
4-H is a great thing for younger children because it teaches them responsibility. If you want to be successful, you have to be out there feeding and working your animals. It also teaches good sportsmanship because you will not win at everything. While doing this, you will make lifelong friends, overcome fears and, of course, make memories.
I took a lot more out of 4-H than just ribbons and awards. I have so many great memories. My favorite thing to do is teach children on Agriculture Awareness Day. I love to see their expressions when I work at the poultry station. I hold up the ostrich egg, and they all yell, "Dinosaur!" It is the cutest thing.
Bobbie Seitz, left, shows off her Grand Champion steer at the 2012 Mifflin County Youth Fair.
Seitz is pictured with her 2013 market lamb, ‘Gator.’
The 4-Hers get to teach children twice each year; kindergarten students in May and third grade students in September. Ag Awareness Day is such an experience because the children are all so eager to learn about animals. They are what inspired me to go to college to be an agriculture teacher and livestock judge.
While showing in 4-H the past nine years, I have shown goats, horses, cattle, sheep and chickens. My favorite animal to show is goats or lambs. Both animals have so much personality, and if your children wanted to show, I would recommend either of them. Over the years, I have had numerous class winners and overall winners. In 2007 and 2011, I had the grand champion market goat.
I reached one of my biggest goals in 2012 and earned grand champion market steer. It was my most memorable moment because, earlier in the year, I said my goal was to win. It was such an honor, partially because my steer caused me so much trouble. He jumped the fence twice and got in with my neighbor's beef cattle, and my sisters had to go rope him.
In 2013, I had reserve champion market goat.
Over the past nine years, I have done more than excel in the show ring. One might be surprised, but 4-H has something for everyone, even if you do not live on a farm.
There are many different projects you can do that are displayed in the green building at the county fair. Wood working, cake decorating, tie dying and sewing are just a few.
If you have a son or daughter who likes to hunt, 4-H also has shooting sports.
4-H is a great opportunity for children. It teaches them valuable life lessons, good sportsmanship and that hard work does pay off.
If you want to help create a better tomorrow for your community, enroll your child in 4-H. You will be surprised by how much you both enjoy it.
Bobbie Seitz is 18 years old and has participated in 4-H for nine years. She is the daughter of Rob and D.J Seitz. She lives on the family farm, "Sunnybrook Farm," in Lewistown, where she raises boer goats for 4-H youth. Seitz is a senior at Mifflin County High School.