Occasionally a parent might approach Extension staff and be disappointed about the placing of a child's project. The fact is any 4-H project placing is only the view of a particular judge on a particular day at a particular time and setting. Every effort is made to be consistent with 4-H rules.
In the beginning, it is good to ask what are my goals with 4-H? Hopefully the goals were to learn and have fun. In the end, it is again important to review the goals to evaluate what was learned rather than focus on the final placing in competition.
Competition is a good thing. It is the principle in many attributes of this country's foundation and provides encouragement for each and every one of us to enhance performance. However there is a balance between competition and competency that must be respected. At the same time, one must be competent to be competitive.
Indiana's premiere and largest youth development program remains a responsible program due to parents and youth having a discussion about the roles of competition and competency in the program.
Discussion might include that having goals of striving to be grand champion or receiving a blue ribbon or to achieve a cash scholarship are positive attributes.
From personal experience, the times of winning were not always about getting first place. Learning through challenging one's self through new projects is very important. Focusing on developing fellow 4-H'ers and seeing others personal growth is rewarding.
Seeing 4-H programs grow due to individuals taking responsibility to serve as positive role models in the program and at competitions both locally and beyond makes it a privilege to be involved with the 4-H program.
Hopefully all 4-H families can work to remain focused on developing the next generation of young people who will ultimately serve as our future leaders. While competition at 4-H events is inherent, the education that comes with 4-H project work and attainment of personal goals is far more important than a "winning at all costs" attitude.
Ultimately competency should take precedence over competition. With your assistance, it is certain that the young people involved in 4-H Youth Development projects and activities will learn that the process of learning is far more important than the 4-H project or exhibit itself.
Parents and volunteers can serve as positive role models through the following: conduct which exhibits a courteous and respectful manner, exhibit good sportsmanship, praise their own and other young individuals for what they have learned from their 4-H experience and accomplishments, and finally understand that the best exhibit possible is the individual 4-H member.
Visit our website at www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time.
July 18 -- Extension Office Staff at Fairgrounds
July 18 -- 4-H Cat Show, Fairgrounds, 9:30 a.m.
July 18 -- 4-H Fashion Revue, Fairgrounds, 7 p.m.
July 19 -- 4-H Poster Judging, Fairgrounds, 4-7 p.m.
July 20 -- 4-H Foods Judging, Fairgrounds, 1-3 p.m.
July 21 -- 4-H Project Judging, Fairgrounds, 9 a.m.-noon
July 22-30 - Putnam County Fair (programs at Extension Office/local businesses)
Aug. 1 -- Area V 4-H Tractor Contest, Fairgrounds, 9 a.m.
Aug. 2 -- National Night Out, Robe Ann Park, 6 p.m.
Aug. 5-21 -- Indiana State Fair
Aug. 16 -- Master Gardner Classes to start Fairgrounds 6-9 p.m.