It’s important to share some of the day-to-day things that 4-H’ers go through, so that as a community, we have a better understanding of our 4-H program. The Cowley County Fair isn’t the “be all, end all” for Cowley County 4-H. *GASP!* I know, I know, you’re shocked. But I’m about to be real with you and our 4-H families and say that while the fair is a culminating event, it’s not the end. We still have things to wrap up such as 4-H’ers’ record books. Read on, to find out more about closing out the 2019 4-H year.
The 2019 Cowley County Fair may be over, but the 4-H year isn’t. I’m guessing many of you thought that after all the exhibits were picked up Tuesday, after all the livestock were taken home, the barns cleaned, tables put away and the fairgrounds emptied, you were done with 4-H in 2019.
The 2019 4-H Year will actually come to a close September 30. The end of the year is a good time for 4-H’ers to think about what they liked and didn’t like about their projects. It’s a good time for reflection and considering what to change for the coming 4-H year.
The end of the 4-H year is a time for completing record books. Record Books (KAP’s) are a good way to learn about applying for awards and will be helpful in the future while preparing for college and applying for scholarships. Completing record books gives us a chance to evaluate our project work. It allows us to think about goals whether we reached them. We can reflect on what we learned in the project and whether we want to enroll in the project for the coming 4-H year. While completing record books seemed like a painful process at the time I was completing them, looking back, I appreciate that my mom and dad instilled those values in me. Completing record books teaches perseverance, skills in completing award applications, organizes awards making it easier to find information for completing scholarships and allows for reflection about our 4-H experiences- not just the awards. Completing record books is a way to learn that sometimes you do what you have to, even if you don’t want to.
In a way, record books are a lot like taxes. If you have a good system for keeping track of things throughout the year, the final preparations are easy. Start early with setting goals, and track what you do throughout the 4-H year.
To those of you (parents and 4-H’ers) who still see the value in completing record books and are willing to take on the difficult task, I commend you. It may not be quick or easy, but I promise it is worth it.
Kelsey Nordyke is the 4-H Youth Development Agent at K-State Research and Extension, Cowley County. She can be reached at 221-5450 or (620) 441-4565.