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Local 4-H members attend State Leadership Conference

Ten youth members of 4-H travelled to Glenwood Springs last weekend to attend the annual Colorado Leadership Conference, themed “Ropin’ Up a Great Future.”

Two recent community donations to the 4-H program were used to help defray the individual costs of the conference and enabled so many youth to attend. Appreciation is expressed to the Women’s Club, which gave $300, and the Back Country Horsemen, who donated $60.

One hundred thirty youth in grades 6-9 from all over the state participated in workshops and activities based on the “Code of the West” character education curricula that was developed from two books, “Cowboy Ethics “and “Cowboy Values,” written by James P. Owen. After 35 years on Wall Street, and after experiencing waves of scandal that exposed the dark side of his profession, Owen discovered that core principles for ethics and leadership could be found in 10 principles that he calls the “Code of the West.”

Lane Schaaf, eighth grade, commented, “This weekend we learned that 4-H isn’t about winning awards or making money in livestock, but it’s about bringing people together and learning new things.”

The State Leadership Council, 15 high school students elected to the District President positions in each of their 4-H Districts, led all of the activities based on three of the 10 “Code of the West” principles: Talk less and say more, take pride in your work, and ride for the brand.

“I learned that we can’t always judge someone on the way they look because you have to meet the person to really know them,” remarked Diana Scott, sixth grade.

Bailey Stahr, seventh grade, observed, “Be thankful for what we have and don’t take advantage of it. Respect everyone because we all have different situations.”

DeAnn Schaaf, seventh grade, noted, “I learned that silence is sometimes better than I thought. This is a great life lesson.”

Zach DeVooght, eighth grade, said he learned a lot about respecting others.

The Hs in 4-H stand for head, heart, hands and health and the national theme this year is “What’s Your H?” Conference activities helped youth explore this concept.

Daily Valdez, sixth grade, stated, “I had a lot of fun and my favorite part was when we made up a play for one of the Hs. I learned what my H is.”

Sixth-grader Camille Bilazzo said, “I learned more about 4-H and why not to judge others.”

4-H hosts a variety of national and international exchange programs and one District President gave a presentation about her month-long stay in Mongolia.

Antonia Bussoli and Sarah Ross, sixth-graders, loved this presentation and Sarah remarked, “I learned that we should be grateful for everything we have.”

One of the workshops was a dance lesson that taught students to country swing and waltz.

Jade Hart, eighth grade, observed that this, “wasn’t just so you could learn to dance, it was to show you to take pride in your work and finish what you start.” This fancy footwork also came in handy as a dance was held Saturday night during the conference, which is the real highlight of the weekend.

At the conclusion of the conference, Becky Jacobsen, Archuleta County 4-H coordinator, appreciatively accepted a $100 donation from the conference attendees to put toward the planned installation of the 4-H garden in memory of Liz Haynes, former Extension Agent who passed away last week.

Several hours were allocated for 4-H members to have some recreation time together. Archuleta County members had a wonderful swim and soak at the Glenwood Hot Springs, which is a main attraction in the town and a similar experience to what we have in Pagosa Springs. The students enjoyed the comparison of the various facilities, including smell and taste, at dinner afterward.

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