Have you been thinking of enrolling your child in an extracurricular activity but don’t know which to choose? Well, 4-H may be the perfect solution for your family. 4-H has so many different programs to pick from and is sure to satisfy your kid’s needs. From raising animals to photography to baking, the options are endless.
To provide useful information to new 4-H parents, we asked parents/ guardians of a 4-H student to tell us a little about their experience. Crystal Baxter was one of many mothers to take this opportunity to spread the word about this great organization. Below are her thoughts on being a part of the 4-H family.
Tell us a little bit about you and your family.
My name is Crystal Baxter, I am a pediatric ER nurse. I am married to my high school sweetheart Shelby of 24 years. I have a 23-year-old special needs son Cameron and a 15-year-old daughter Kendall. We have grown up in Johnson County. My grandfather was a dairyman but retired when I was young. We lived in the city and did not have a lot of exposure to the “agriculture life.”
How long has your child been involved with 4-H?
My daughter Kendall has been in 4-H for 3 years now.
How did you hear about 4-H and why did you decide to enroll your child in this organization?
One of her friends at school invited her to join a Food Challenge Team. We did not know much about 4-H but went to a meeting and were welcomed with open arms. We continue to stay enrolled in 4-H because they have numerous opportunities for children to learn, grow, and make life-long friendships.
What 4-H projects does your child participate in?
As a member of 4-H Kendall has participated in Public Speaking, Nutrition Quiz Bowl, Plant ID, Livestock Judging, Food Challenge, and Consumer Decision Making. She has also participated in many community service projects, leadership workshops, and camps.
Has your child participated in and/ or won any contests? If so, what contests were they?
Kendall’s Food Challenge Team won 2nd place at the State Fair of Texas. Kendall also placed 2nd at District in Public Speaking. Her Nutrition Quiz Team won 5th at district and her Plant ID Team won 5th at the Fort Worth Stock Show.
What is the time commitment per month?
4-H is a way of life for us, so we put in a lot of time. We go to our monthly meeting which usually lasts two hours. Kendall goes to practice for two hours per activity at least once a week. When it gets closer to major competitions we practice more. Then there is time spent at home going over the material, which is 30 minutes a night. The competitions usually fall on the weekends and they last all day.
What type of monetary commitment does it require for your child’s projects?
Our county has raised a lot of money to encourage the youth to participate in 4-H activities. A lot of times they pay for half the entry fees. The entry fees usually cost between $25-$40. You can do as many competitions as your budget allows.
What goals do you have for your child during her 4-H career?
Kendall has her own goals that she sets each year for herself. The only thing I want for her is to have a great time learning, trying new things, growing as a person, and making memories and friendships.
What is your favorite memory from your child’s time with 4-H?
My favorite memory from Kendall doing 4-H was when we had our family fun night. All the 4-H members, families, and friends got together for yard size board games and activities. The adults played Twister with the young kiddos; that was a laugh all in itself. Then we had a jump rope contest, that the adult, wearing flip flops beat the teenager. We still laugh about this event to this day. My favorite memories of Kendall being in 4-H is all the time we have spent together in the car traveling to competitions with friends. We have our playlist, we sing at the top of our lungs, we talk, we laugh, we review material, we eat at unique restaurants, and we travel the state of Texas.
What advice do you have for new 4-H parents?
The advice I would give to new parents is to go to a meeting. A lot of times they will have an open house and tell about several of the different projects offered through 4-H. At a meeting, you can ask a member about projects that your child may be interested in. These kids are very knowledgeable and passionate about their projects so they are always willing to share information. The other advice is to just have fun. It’s not all about winning, but rather learning and bettering yourself.
Crystal Baxter and her family are just one example of a family who has benefited from 4-H. It is a great organization for children and teenagers alike.
If you are interested in learning more about other families’ experiences with 4-H subscribe to our blog!