Former 4-H leader reminisces after visit
October 29, 2020
In the 1980’s my family and I operated a dairy farm in Wahkiakum County on the Loop Road in Grays River. My wife, Noreen and our four children, Suzanna, Joel, Amy and Genevra were interested in starting a 4-H Dairy Club.
On our farm we had 100 milking cows and about the same number of young stock.
Our club name was Westend Livestock Dairy Club. Over the many years we had 10 to 13 members, boys and girls. There were 27 dairy farms in the county in those days. Some of our kids could not afford a dairy heifer of their own to train and show at the fair, so local dairymen would lend a heifer calf to the kids for a year for their project.
Our club was very active, we had monthly meetings at our farm, we went on dairy judging trips in Washington and Oregon for pizza party trips and cross-country skiing trips at Mount Rainier at Christmas time. The kids would decorate our big hay wagon. We had hay bales for everyone to sit on, I pulled the trailer around the valley, singing Christmas Carols to families and seniors. We always had home made cookies to share.
After the Wahkiakum County Fair in August, we always had kids that qualified for Washington State Fair.
The Washington State Fair was in September. It was always a big job to get trucks and livestock trailers ready to haul cattle 100 miles on fair day.
These were all just wonderful kids and it was definitely one of the highlights in our lives to be 4-H leaders. We also had great energy and support from parents in those days, a special thank you to all of them.
I thought one day we should have a club song. Son, Joel played drums. John and Jay and myself played guitars. Shelding Laning and I came up with this tune:
We’re always having fun
We are the ones
Is going to the Fair
We hope to see ya there.
Achievement Day is coming
And we’re gonna do our share.
We been working hard this year
So don’t you have a care.
Don’t you fret
And don’t you sweat.
We’re gonna do OK.
Wahkiakum County Fair
You’ll be proud of us that day.
Washington State Extension Leader Janet Smit was so wonderful to our club. She had great energy, was excited to watch the kids show and was right there to encourage blue ribbon winners to sign up for State Fair.
She also organized a trip to WSU for our senior kids headed to college. There were quite a few of our kids that graduated from WSU, thanks to Janet. Well, that was all many years ago. All those kids are grown now with families of their own, I have to say this experience was one of the highlights in Noreen and my lives.
So now the rest of the story:
One day, 30 years later, one of our kids came by our farm and told us that his years in 4-H were the most fun he had growing up!
One of the greatest things we can do in life is what we have been in the eyes of a child.
I would like to dedicate this rememberance to all our kids and thank you for the memories.