Welcome and thanks for parade weekend

Julia Hart

Spending time and energy on youth is never wasted.

Having spent my own time as a youth leader when my girls were younger, I know working with youth is sometimes frustrating, angst-ridden, yet incredibly rewarding in so many unexpected ways. Naturally, as I remember, you don’t always get to see the results of your efforts immediately. Sometimes it is years before the lessons taught are remembered or commented upon by the intended audience.

My sister-in-law reminded me recently why adults should and do spent their time with the youth in our community.

“I feel it is better to spend our time and energy on youth teaching them life skills, decision making and good choices instead of waiting until they are in the juvenile system…” is the kind of sentiment to which I also subscribe. Keeping youth active and engaged with fun and productive projects is a goal we all should be working towards.

So, when it comes to attending awards ceremonies that not only honor the achievement of the youth, but the leaders, I’m always happy to attend.

I have the highest respect for those adults who give time from everything from coaching t-ball, organizing overnight scout camps to giving time Sunday mornings to teach the “Golden Rule.”

In the Yakima Valley, sometimes behind the scenes and often with very little fanfare, 4-H leaders are helping to shape the lives of community youth, with projects from sewing to judging steers in the show ring. Even learning husbandry and public speaking can lead to huge success.

I had the opportunity to attend the 72nd Yakima County 4-H Achievement and awards luncheon Saturday. I’m so glad I went.

I’m also glad politicians were invited to the ceremony which represented youth from Grandview to Naches.

It was great to hear all the great things 4-H does in our communities like petting zoos using American Sign Language to describe the animals to children or to holding sheep shearing workshops.

It was impressive to hear from the members who earned top speaking awards, as they gave out awards with confidence many adults can’t bring to public speaking.

As the mom of the top three winners in oral presentations, Karen Sheehan said – “it’s never to early to learn how to speak in front of a group.”

And, it is never too late to tell leaders and mentors “we appreciate the work you do.”

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