Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A trip down memory lane!

Daniel with his Heifer
Yesterday was a very long and wonderful day, it was the Willow Creek District 4-H Achievement Day, I got the honor of watching my sister's last 4-H Achievement Day and my little brother's first one, I spent most of the day taking pictures of the two of them and their cattle!

Michelle and her Heifer
Being at Achievement Day also brought back memories of my eight years in the Claresholm 4-H Beef Club! 4-H is an amazing program that absolutely changed my life. Throughout the 4-H year the club has monthly meetings to plan events, along with fundraisers, community service and activities. There is also a public speaking competition that every member has to participate in to finish of the year. The public speaking was a huge part of my 4-H years, at the beginning I was very scared of speaking in front of people and I cried during my first speech I was so scared, but over the years I got better and if it wasn't for that first step and 4-H, I have no idea what I would be doing today. Anyway, as a 4-H member you also need to do a record book for your project which records rate of gain and what we feed them and expenses of everything.

Daniel showing his steer
Well, after a year of hard work and preparation it comes down to Achievement Day, the big day where everyone shows and sells their steer after a year of hard work, and it is the day that I miss the most! In our district we always had the choice to have a steer and then females which could consist of a yearling heifer, a two year old cow/calf pair, a three year old cow/calf pair and a mature cow/calf pair which is a cow that is at least four years old. All the females have to be 4-H females, so for example a two year old cow would have had to be shown as a heifer in the previous year to be shown as a two year old. Then we have the option of entering in the Breeder's Herd class, which is at least three animals, usually members will do a cow/calf pair and their heifer for Breeder's Herd!

At the end of the day, the members sell their 4-H steers and thanks to all the support from buyers and the community the clubs do very well. Members get a fair amount more than market value which is always nice. My siblings and I never did get the full pay cheque at the end of the year, we always had to pay our dad for the feed, the animal and everything else that went with it. But I wouldn't have it any other way, through it I learned that life isn't free and it costs money, but I did make a little money over the years, and now I have a small herd of cattle that have been making me some money to.
Achievement Day was always a very busy day, especially as I got older I would have one of everything, a steer, heifer, two year old, three year old and mature cow calf/pair which made for a lot of work but was so totally worth it!

Headed to the Ring
I had an amazing time in my eight years of 4-H and I learned so much, from public speaking, responsibility and a little about life, the market and showing. 4-H is a great program and I am so thankful I could be a part of it, and sometimes I miss it but I also love to be on the other side watching the show, it was great to see my sister in her last 4-H, she did such an amazing job and it was also wonderful to see my brother's first 4-H Achievement Day and he has a lot more ahead of him so I can't wait to see him grow into an amazing young man.

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