Accountability. Self-control. Responsibility. Confidence. These are arguably some of the most important character traits that successful adults possess, but these skills can be hard to learn sitting in the classroom. That’s why getting fresh air and gaining hands-on experience through the Home’s 4-H program is so important.
The Home’s 4-H program dates back to 1948 when seven calves were donated to the Home and the Valley View 4-H club was formed. Since that day nearly 70 years ago, hundreds of boys and girls have benefited from the program, providing them with an opportunity for growth despite limited access to learning experiences in their pasts.
Through the 4-H program, youth are given the opportunity to work with cattle at the Home’s Cooper Memorial Farm. They learn everything it takes to prepare calves for showing, including proper animal care and hours of taming and grooming. Finally, the youth get to show their cattle at local county fairs and beef shows. All the while, youth are building character, practicing discipline, learning patience and gaining self-confidence.
This year’s 4-H show season kicked off on April 1 when five youth and two calves traveled 50 miles northwest of Omaha to Oakland, Nebraska for the Burt County Beef Progress Show. Two of the youth showed cattle while the other three helped prepare the cattle for show, offered their support and learned through observation.
“The Oakland show is a smaller, more laid back show than some of the other shows we will attend this year,” said Mike Pallas, Cooper Farm Manager and Valley View 4-H Leader. “It’s a good place to start our season because it allows the boys to get some of their jitters out and to gain some experience in the ring in a smaller setting before moving on to the bigger shows.”
At the Oakland show, Mark and Isaac, both youth in the Home’s Residential Care Program showed cattle. This was Mark’s second year participating in 4-H and he stood fourth in his class, making the final cut in senior showmanship. Isaac was a rookie in the ring, and although he was very nervous, he stood second in his class but did not make the final cut in showmanship.
“I was pleased with our calf placings and extremely pleased with the way the boys handled themselves both in and out of the ring,” said Mike. “Overall it was a pleasant spring day that gave the boys a taste of what showing is all about.”
Still to come this summer, the Home’s Valley View 4-H Club will be showing at the Papio Valley Beef Progress Show on June 24, the Fremont 4-H Fair on July 13 and 14, and the Sarpy County Fair on August 3 and 4 – all of which give youth the opportunity to build valuable skills that lead to successful futures.
4-H is a youth development program where adult volunteers provide positive, hands-on, fun educational opportunities with youth age 5 to 19. 4-H provides youth the opportunity to learn new experiences to help them become productive, successful adults. 4-H projects encompass health, science, citizenship and, in the case of the Home’s Valley View 4-H Club, agriculture.
How You Can Help Support the Valley View 4-H Club
The Home’s Valley View 4-H Club offers supporters a unique was to contribute. A donation of grain, feed or livestock offers tax saving opportunities for donors by reducing overall taxable income and providing a charitable benefit without filing for a charitable deduction.