Denise Clark: Faith restored

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My faith is fully restored in the youths of our beautiful Routt County. Throughout the year, I heard people comment on how kids these days “don’t know how to work,” “are on the computer all the time” and “text more than they talk.” If you want to witness a vastly different reality and revive your hope in the next generation, join me at the Routt County Fair next year.

Recently escaped from a much larger city, this is only my fourth year at the fair. As the mother of a devout animal lover, I have grown more appreciative each year of 4-H, its leaders (thanks to all!) and the life lessons 4-H teaches these kids. The planning, preparation, budgeting, marketing and all the hard work of raising an animal are only the beginning. The kids and young adults learn to seek out and ask questions of others more knowledgeable, adults and peers. At the fair, these kids unceasingly help one another on their different animals and proudly talk with the public about them. They keep the fairgrounds and their animals’ pens clean — sometimes substantially cleaner than their rooms at home. They celebrate one anothers’ successes and console one another when things don’t quite go as planned. Through the years, they actively embrace more responsibility, gaining self-confidence and poise.

This week at the fair I saw cell phones used only to gather assistance for the latest grooming crisis or heavy-lifting job. There were no computer games being played and texting was rare. There simply wasn’t time. So many things are higher priority, like building friendships and values that will last a lifetime. All this is under the guise of raising an animal.

Our community does an excellent job supporting these kids through sponsorships, scholarships and purchasing animals at the livestock auction. The auction is a great place to acquire locally raised meat for your freezer or to donate the meat or equivalent market price to your favorite charity. It is great local marketing for your business, too — all while supporting incredible kids and a fantastic organization. If you or your business missed supporting 4-H in 2012, please consider investing in our future next year.

Denise Clark

Oak Creek

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