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Her love of 4-H

Written by Leah Peterson

“I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living…for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”

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Aside from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance each day at my country school, this was the next salute to a flag practiced most frequently. That pledge, is that of a 4-Her.

Winter evenings attending club meetings gave way to summer, and the arrival of the monumental yearly event for every 4-H member, known simply as “county fair.”

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My Maggie is not yet old enough to be in 4-H, so attending the fair is fun and relaxing. I know in just a few short years that I will transition into the role I remember my own parents filling of rousing us for early mornings with our horses and cattle, late nights tending livestock in the barns, pressing shirts, and frantically running from one end of the fairgrounds to another to be sure kids get to their events. The traditions of 4-H families run deep across this great country. Few people realize that 4-H continues to grow. In fact, 4-H curriculum touches 1 in 3 Nebraska youth between the ages of 8 and 18. The program has moved far beyond traditional Agriculture, and includes projects to appeal to almost every interest or hobby out there.

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I was a proud 4-H member in Custer County. The lessons learned through 4-H experiences influenced my career pathways, and my personal development. If anyone ever asks me what I recommend for ideas for youth involvement/development, I have and always will recommend 4-H.

The Custer County fair is just revving up in Broken Bow this week. I look forward to attending all sorts of events, and cheering on our area youth who have worked so hard to prepare their projects for this event. Please enjoy these photos I have captured thus far of just a few of the exciting things happening all because of a wonderful program called 4-H, and a very old snapshot that summarizes what the 4-H experience means to me!

About the author

Leah Peterson

Leah Peterson is a native Nebraskan, living on the ranch her ancestors homesteaded in 1878. She and her husband Matt, met at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and returned to the ranch in 2012 after working and living in Central Nebraska the past 12 years. They are parents to two daughters, Maggie and Lucy. Leah has an undergrad degree from UNL in Communication Studies, and a MA in Leadership from Bellevue University. Aside from her work at the ranch and opportunity to be a stay at home mom, she enjoys writing, photography, community involvement, spending time with friends and family and trying new recipes in her kitchen. Leah published her first children’s book in 2011 titled “An Apple for Dapple” and enjoys traveling throughout the state to share her book with children and raise awareness about the importance Agriculture in Nebraska.

1 Comment

  • I learned my baking, sewing, cooking and canning skills through 4-H as a girl growing up in the country. All those life skills have been very important to me all through my life, and have handed them down to my daughter and granddaughter. Even speech contests which helped me develop leadership skills to go on to be President of several organizations and am still serving in that capacity in three organizations at the ripe old age of 76! Even working at the county fair in Seward NE as a young adult as a result!