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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. Shawna Burnett 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 husband and I both grew up in 4-H. We have two girls, Bailee, 13 years old, and Mollee, 9. We live in Iowa Park, and my husband grew up in Graham. He was also a part of FFA.

How long have your children been involved with 4-H?

Bailee has been involved since 4th grade (so this will be her 5th year), and Mollee’s first year was last year in 3rd grade, but she was a Clover member until then.

How did you hear about 4-H, and why did you decide to enroll your children in this organization?

I love the experiences we get to have together as a family and the opportunities it provides for my kids to come out of their shells and learn about animals and the community.

What 4-H projects do your children participate in?

Bailee did a food show her first year, and both have shown rabbits every year. Bailee also competed in the county show last year in photography.

Have your children participated in and/ or won any contests? If so, what contests were they?

Yes, Bailee has made the sale with her rabbits 2 out of 4 years, and Mollee got Reserve Grand Champion pen last year. It was so exciting for that to happen in her first year of showing.

What is the time commitment per month?

Rabbits are pretty easy because we only have them for about 6 weeks before the show. This year Bailee will be showing a heifer, and we work with her about an hour at least 3-4 days a week. We started in July, and this will run through April.

What type of monetary commitment does it require for your children’s projects?

Rabbits aren’t too expensive because one bag of feed can likely get you to showtime. Buying initial supplies is also a small expense, but they can be kept in your backyard. Then buying a pen is fairly cheap compared to other animals. The heifer will be a bigger and longer commitment and expense.

What goals do you have for your children during their 4-H career?

I want them to learn leadership skills and how to take care of animals. I would love for them to be able to use this to help get college scholarships and continue working with animals in their life. We are also a farming family. I just enjoy watching them grow and meet new people along the way.

What role do you play in 4-H as an adult leader?

I just support the girls best I know how and I’m still learning with them. We also try to help friends who are new to 4-H.

What is your favorite memory from your child’s time with 4-H?

County show and the sale. We enjoy dressing the rabbits up and getting to showcase them. Mollee winning Reserve Grand last year is my favorite memory.

What advice do you have for new 4-H parents?

Ask for help. Your agent is very resourceful and can get you the help you need, whether it’s becoming more educated on your projects or finding what you need to raise your animals. Shout out to our agent Katrena Mitchell. She is amazing.

So, have fun! Make it a family event. Be proud no matter what. It’s hard work, and you should enjoy the learning experiences along the way.

The Burnett’s are just one 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!

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