It has been a busy time for 4-H animal exhibitors with spring shows and clinics and
McPherson County is still preparing for its Invitational Dog Show Saturday. As I think about projects involving any animals, one of the six pillars of character comes to mind: Caring. I think Michigan State University explained it well in a recent publication:
“Caring means how you feel about others and how you can help others. If you are concerned about an individual or what people are doing and how they are doing it, you want to do something about it and assist or support them.
“In the livestock project areas, a caring person can display kindness and treat others as they would like to be treated. As a livestock exhibitor, youth need to be caring toward their animals, how they treat them, feed them properly and make sure their housing is correct. Youth learn that by caring for their animals, they will know they have done their best to make sure that animal has been cared for from beginning to end.
“As a caring person, youth learn how to make decisions and how words and actions can affect everyone around them in the livestock arena.
“Ways to show that you care, can be by assisting a young member selecting an animal, showing how to care for that animal, proper feeding, grooming, fitting of the animal. This can especially help with first-time exhibitors. Adults can show caring ways toward members in teaching them how to select, fit, groom and feed their livestock projects.”
Youth can learn some amazing skills in 4-H and within the livestock and other animal projects, but learning character tops them all. I am very thankful for the youth learning and helping others, as well as the adults stepping up to teach out 4-H youth these valuable things.
If you are around McPherson on Saturday, make sure to stop by the 4-H Building (720 W. Woodside). The Dog Show will begin at 9 a.m. and hopes to conclude by early afternoon. Come see first-hand the caring nature of the youth and adults and find out what 4-H'ers are learning!
Lindsey Friesen is a McPherson County Extension agent for 4-H youth development.