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— I really can’t say enough good things about our local 4-H programs. The 4-H clubs and activities are nothing but a positive influence on the local children and youth who participate, teaching them ethics, work values and skills which will be of benefit to them for a lifetime.

Children and youth learn by experience that it takes commitment and hard work to complete a project - whether that be a science project, a domestic one or agricultural. And as anyone who has done it knows, raising a garden or raising and showing an animal takes hours and hours of work and effort. It cannot be done overnight and without commitment to a goal and persistence every step of the way, and those are values and characteristics that our young people will need to succeed in life, no matter what their final work or occupation.

Yes, I realize that the commitment to a goal and the persistence to see it through is a requirement for 4-H parents, too. They not only help and guide in the work, but have to remind their 4-H-member children to do daily what their project requires. But that is a part of teaching their children - a necessary and sometimes hard and painful part. And without 4-H parents, the children would not succeed.

Though time does not permit me to cover every 4-Hevent and activity - and they are worthy of coverage - I was happy to see the children and youth rewarded for their efforts at the Bloomfield 4-H Club banquet last week. The awards will encourage them to carry on and work harder to succeed in whatever they set out to do.

Like usual, because of other meetings and events, I didn’t get to stay for all the awards - and there were many because a good number of local youth participate in 4-H. Since there were probably not awards for all the parents and 4-H leaders who give countless hours to help our local children and youth succeed, I do want to publicly commend them for taking the time and making the effort to help their children with the day-to-day work and skills needed to complete projects, learn new skills and develop a work ethic which will carry them far.

I also wish to thank the Bloomfield 4-H for honoring the Courier-Journal with an award for its service and support of the 4-H. It is an honor to include photos and news stories about the 4-H club in our pages, and we are committed to including as much as we can about the local 4-H clubs and their activities and projects. Please keep us informed of events and activities, and please keep sending in photos and information.

The award did catch me a little off guard. I was only expecting to take some photos of others receiving awards. In fact, I find it safer to be behind a camera than in front of it, and I usually try to stay there.

Patricia Wilmoth was kind enough to send me photos of the newspaper award, and I do appreciate the photos. They do, however, raise another issue.

You see, Mrs. Griz often shares tidbits with me about the classes she teaches on Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia, and one of the things she’s often mentioned is that it’s not good to put a big mirror in the room of someone who cannot remember the recent past because the person will not want to believe what he or she sees in the mirror and will be further confused and upset.

Yes, I see my face in the mirror on a daily basis to shave, but I don’t often see myself in photographs. Like I said, I try to stay behind the camera and not in front of it.

My first thought was, when I saw Patricia’s photographs - and I doubt it was her fault since she wasn’t shooting with a wide angle lens - “Who is that old fat guy in the picture?” I recognized the clothes and the camera I was carrying, but somehow the age and belly is not how I remember myself.

It does make sense though. I am in my 50s, and it does take my breath away to reach down far enough to pull my boots on in the morning. The guy does look like the same one Mrs. Griz has standing next to her in some photographs on the wall at our home - I wondered who she was hanging out with. So, it must be true. I’ve gotten older like everybody else my age, and I’ve eaten too much and exercised too little.

Maybe I need to take on a 4-H project that requires lots of hard work and daily persistence. Perhaps if I grew a garden or raised an animal? Maybe if I got a dog that would take me on long walks every day?

But, then again, it might be easier if I am just more careful to stay on the back side of a camera. That way, I could hold on to the young image of myself in my mind and wouldn’t have to face the truth that I’ve actually grown old and fat!

Opinion, Pages 5 on 11/18/2009

Print Headline: Griz Bear Comments Attending the 4-H Awards Banquet

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