Vail Daily letter: Support 4-H kids today | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: Support 4-H kids today

Eagle County Fair and Rodeo has kicked off this week! The rodeo is a great event to watch, but more importantly is the fair aspect. Many people don't understand what the fair is about and what a great organization 4-H is for the kids in our area. 4-H is an amazing opportunity for kids to learn about anything that they want — it is about animals, photography, sewing, shooting sports and truly everything else. 4-H is an opportunity for the kids in our area to learn strong community involvement, responsibly and leadership.

One of the biggest events for 4-H is the Junior Livestock Sale today! It kicks off at noon with a barbecue and then at 1 p.m. the sale begins. It takes place at the Eagle River Center at the Eagle County Fairgrounds in Eagle. This is a great opportunity to see the hard work these 4-H kids have done to raise a variety of animals. There are turkeys, rabbits, chickens, goat, sheep, pigs and steers and sometimes even a few other fowl. Some of these kids have been working on their animals since late fall. It is an opportunity to purchase some amazing meat that has been raised locally and in a loving, caring way. The animals cannot be certified as organic because of the cost to do so, but these animals have not been given growth steroids or anything else to make them larger. They have been raised by our local kids in their backyards or the community barn. These kids give up a lot of time throughout the year to work with and care for the animals. The animals teach the kids about business and how to run a business — did that make a profit or suffer a loss? They work on their sales skills and present their animals to the local businesses. It is a great way to get kids off their phones and speak eye to eye to true professionals in our community. My kids have been part of this event for over eight years and it has given them self-confidence and responsibility that I probably could have never taught them any other way. It has become a great family activity.

It also has taught many of these kids lessons that they should not have to learn but only benefit from, such as how to give back to families in need and how to help a fellow 4-Her or community members in times of trouble. These kids have donated their animals to be sold with the money going to Shaw Cancer Center, to other families that have been stricken with cancer, families that have lost loved ones, families who lost their animals in a fire and were unable to sell them. The stories are great and the kids are even better to think about others and not just about themselves. These kids are not prompted to do this but join together and realize that it is a great feeling to give to those that need help. Each year there always seems to be a new and better story about what these kids do for each other and the community. These are the true values that we need our kids to learn — compassion and support of others. Please come out and support these kids and purchase some amazing locally grown animals. You will not be disappointed!

Kathy Calton