With summer judging, county public speaking and demonstration contests occurring last week, it feels like the fair is right around the corner. In fact it will be just two weeks from now that project judging occurs!
Occasionally a parent might approach Extension staff and be disappointed about the placing of a child's project. 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 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-Hers 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 765.653.8411 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 10 -- Consumer Clothing Workshop, Mill Pond, 5:30 p.m.
July 10 -- IEHA Leader Lesson "Human Trafficking" Extension Office, 7 p.m.
July 11 -- Wood Science/Wood Craft Workshop, Steve Lien Shop, 6:30 p.m.
July 11 -- Fashion Revue Workshop, Extension Office, 7 p.m.
July 12 -- 4-H Swine Pen forms due
July 12 -- Exploring 4-H Field Day, Fairgrounds, 1 p.m.
July 13 -- 4-H Consumer Clothing Notebooks Due, Extension Office, 4 p.m.
July 13 -- 4-H Record Sheets to be signed by 4-H Leader unless other date given
July 14 -- 4-H Tractor Driving Contest, Fairgrounds, 8 a.m.
July 14 -- 4-H Firearms Competition, Cloverdale Conservation Club, 8:30 a.m.
July 14 -- 4-H Archery Competition, Fairgrounds, 6 p.m.
July 15 -- 4-H Dog Obedience Show, Fairgrounds, Noon
July 16 -- 4-H Cat Show, Fairgrounds, 9:30 a.m.
July 16 -- 4-H Fashion Revue, Fairgrounds, 7 p.m.
July 20-27 Putnam County Fair