Editor’s note: “A Better Life” is a new weekly column by the USU Extension – Tooele Office that will focus on a variety of topics intended to enhance quality of life.
A 16-year-old 4-H member from Wyoming works hard every year working with her stock show lambs. She walks them every day, feeds them the best feed, and teaches them how to walk and stand for a judge.
This past summer was no different for her. She worked with her lambs nearly every day, even though her knee hurt. She is a very active girl and loves playing basketball, running track, volleyball and dancing. She and her parents figured she was just over working her knee and were not too concerned.
When her county stock show came, her hard work paid off when she won the Showmanship award for her age group and her lamb moved on to the next round of judging. However, after her show she was in intense pain. Her parents became extremely concerned and immediately took her to see a doctor.
Because she was always so active, they expected her to receive a diagnosis of a sports injury and have her stay off her knee for a while. The doctors ran some tests and took some imaging. Their world was turned upside down when the doctor explained that she had bone cancer.
The mother wanted to take her daughter straight home. But, she was determined to finish the stock show. She showed her lamb and won Grand Champion lamb, which is the best lamb in the show.
For months she has been traveling 145 miles from her hometown to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City twice a week for treatments. The miles she and her family drive are adding up. To make matters worse, if she has any complications, even as small as a slight fever, they have to make an additional trip to Salt Lake City.
My neighbor, a previous 4-H leader, heard about this story and decided to collect 4-H club shirts from around Tooele County to cheer her up. She asked one of our local 4-H groups for a club shirt and the kids decided to go a little further for this fellow 4-H member. These kids, aged 6 to 15, each donated some of the proceeds from the sale of their stockshow animals. This 4-H club was able to raise enough money to purchase a $603 gas card to help this family.
This story is a good example of our 4-H pledge in action:
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.
4-H is so much more than winning blue ribbons at the fair; it’s about bettering our community, our country and our world. This is exactly what this 4-H club did. They saw someone who was in need and did what they could to help improve her situation. They are striving to make their club, community and world a better place.
This young 4-H member from Wyoming is a leader. She works hard and pushes through when things get tough. 4-H empowers young people to be true leaders. True leaders are people who have confidence, know how to work well with others, can endure through challenges, and will stick with a job until it gets done. In 4-H, we believe true leaders aren’t born – they’re grown.
Robyn Handley is a 4-H Volunteer/Teen Council Advisor at the USU Extension – Tooele County office, which is located inside the Tooele County Health Department Building, 151 N. Main, Tooele. She can be reached at 435-277-2402 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.