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CountryMark youth essay contest brings candid answers

CountryMark youth essay contest brings candid answers
More than 60 4-H and FFA members write about benefits of belonging.

Indiana youth sang the praises and merits of 4-H and FFA in this year's Indiana Prairie Farmer/CountryMark youth essay contest. Responding to the theme, "How would you convince your best friend to join 4-H or FFA?," Essays were written with passion and thoughtfulness.

Related: Best farming decisions net adult essay winners fuel

Cash awards will be presented to the top four finishers. Now and through this week, check out the top four essays. See which ones you would place first. Then check out the July issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer next week to see how the judges placed these entries.

Here is the essay by Hellen Kyler, Larwill.

Meaning of the 4-H pledge

Indiana youth sang the praises and merits of 4-H and FFA in this year's Indiana Prairie Farmer/CountryMark youth essay contest.

'I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service and my Health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.'

This is not only the 4-H pledge, but a saying that I live by and will never forget. I am a proud 4-H member of five years, and I believe that this homemade organization changes lives. Many of my friends are already involved with 4-H, but if I had to persuade someone that 4-H was the club for them, I would show them the benefits up close.

In order to illustrate everything that 4-H offers, I would show them a local fair. Contrary to what some may think, 4-H is not restricted to livestock and farmers, because there are many different projects and activities for everyone. I would show my friend around the 4-H Center, which holds the non-livestock projects in my county fair. Personally, I started out with projects that anyone can do, like bowling and scrapbooking.

Related: Three farmers share best farming decisions for CountryMark fuel

Meet a 4-H'er: Hellen Kyler wrote her essay from Larwill.

During the winter and spring months, I would take my friend to club meetings, and show them the great benefits of 4-H. We would volunteer for the Salvation Army, go caroling at local nursing homes, along with volunteering at the local Fun Night, which raises awareness of our program within our community.

Getting involved with Junior Leaders and running as club officer teaches life lessons, and increases transferable skills. I would encourage my friend to observe these activities and see what 4-H can do.

If I were to persuade my friend to join 4-H, I would show them everything that the club can offer. From livestock shows to working at concession stands, my friend would experience how life changing 4-H is. I've made the 4-H pledge. Have you?

Hayhurst writes from Terre Haute

More youth essays:
Joining the teamJordan Linville, Knightstown
Meaning of the 4-H pledge - Hellen Kyler, Larwill
Years of memoriesMadyson Stricker, South Whitley
Encourage a friend – Alexandria Baker, Martinsville

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