Thursday, June 26

Mama Kat Thursday: 4-H Clubbing

Mama Kat's blog prompt this week is, "Talk about a club from my childhood that I belonged to."

4-H. That was my club. I was about 10 when my Mother took me to the Wilbur Community Center to be part of our local "Wilbur Shamrocks" 4-H Club back in the mid-60's.
There was a mix of boys and girls ranging from my age to teenagers at the monthly meetings. We'd sing, discuss club business, play games and eat snacks. Club members held official positions like President, Vice-President, Secretary and so on. Minutes were kept and read. All very official. Eventually, I worked my way to holding several such offices.
Everyone in the club had to sign up for at least one "project," such as "Foods" for example, and I'd spend the summer cooking various things, learning about nutrition, learning proper place setting and so on. There was also a workbook with a list of requirements and space for noting accomplishments that I would fill out.
There was also a specified item that had to be made for exhibition purposes at the County Fair. In Foods, for example, the first year exhibition item was cookies. Any kind. Then a judge would inspect and sample the cookies and reward a ribbon: either blue, red or white for first, second or third place.
The neat thing was the County Extension Office would pay 4-H participants a certain amount based on their ribbon award: $1.00 per blue ribbon; 75 cents per red and 50 cents per white. (I think that's correct. It's been a long time!)
To me, this was great, since living way out in the country, I didn't really have any other way to earn money besides 4-H.
That said, I eventually took on as many as 7 different projects at once, since there were lots to choose from. At one time or another I tried arts & crafts, photography, entomology, forestry, home decor, dog training, sewing, veterinary science and flowers.
I ended up liking Sewing and Flowers best, though I persisted in the Food Division through year 5 where the required exhibition item was Clover Leaf Yeast Rolls.
Under Going the Food Judging

Really, 4-H is where I got all my cooking skills. I mean, what is cooking, but knowing how to read a recipe and understand terms and measurements? 
For the Sewing Division, my first sewing machine project was a red gingham apron that I spent blood, sweat and tears on!  Amazingly, it took a Champion ribbon and was sent to the Indiana State Fair 4-H exhibition! (There was extra monetary reward for State Fair ribbons, too!)
right-angle arrangement
In the Flower Division, the first 2 years just involved raising flowers, then exhibiting a single flower in a vase. (I remember pouring over a flower catalog to selecting the perfect color Gladiola to grow for one of those years!)
But the 3rd year required studying arrangement styles, then putting together a  floral arrangement for exhibition. I selected a right-angle form arrangement, such as pictured. For the County Fair, I just had to take the arrangement and take it. Amazingly again, I won a Champion ribbon for it, which promoted me to State Fair competition. But State Fair, I had to put the arrangement together, piece by piece, LIVE in front of judges, explaining as I went!  I was nervous, but did okay. I got a red ribbon, I think.

Today, I'm quite comfortable speaking in public and I must credit all those years in 4-H for that. 4-H provided an abundance of public speaking training.
For more 4-H information:
Here's a link for the general Purdue, Indiana  4-H project list and their current list of exhibit suggestions for the Foods Project, which they now call "Fantastic Foods."
 My sister, who struggled to make the plain, scratch yellow cake required for 2nd year Foods, will be relieved to know that is no longer required. LOL

Thanks for visiting!
Were you in 4-H? What was preferred favorite project?


TMW Hickman said...

Wow! Sounds like a lot of fun. I sure could have used that cooking class!

Jen E @ mommablogsalot said...

That sounds like a really cool club!

Diana Davis said...

Loved 4H. Spent about 3 yrs in it and had the best summer camp experience through 4H. Go Rocks at Eden Mill 4H Camp!! Never got much in the way of ribbons. But, my daughter Kellie got a blue on her first try at the county fair for an oatmeal raisin cake. She was a Clover Bud----how is that for cool? She's still a great cook and the family dessert master.

Jerralea said...

I find it interesting that you mentioned blood, sweat and tears in reference to sewing, while I used that same phrase in describing earning my sewing badge in Girl Scouts. Evidently we are on the same wavelength!

It seems you did much better in 4-H than I did in Scouts!

kelley jensen said...

4-H is a good thing. It sounds like it did good things for you. I loved all the years of 4-h camp for me and for my kids. I learned to sew in 4-H and it is my happiest hobby still. great post. Stopping by from mama kats kelley at the road goes ever ever on

Mama Kat said...

Wow, cooking skills AND public speaking skills thanks to 4H...I need to sign up for that now as an adult!

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