4-H celebrates past and present with special week
Looking though 4-H archives at the Eudora Public Library, Cathy Box noticed some big differences between then and now.
"I though, boy, have times been a changing," said Box, who serves on the 4-H parent advisory board and is the chairwoman for National 4-H week, which began Sept. 30 with a special church service.
As the Eudora 4-H chapter nears its 50th year and the national organization its 100th year,
"When I was looking back in the 1960s, there were far more women in it than boys," Box said.
The high number of girls made sense, Box said, because girls' athletics programs were still developing. But the gender lines were still clearly drawn.
"There were no girls in the animal projects then," Box said. "There were the listings for the animals, and I was like, 'There are no girls in the beef projects, oh my gosh.'"
At this year's Douglas County Fair, girls entered projects ranging from beef and swine to photography and electric while boys entered competitions for clothing buymanship and bread machine baking.
"There's a lot of girls in the animal competitions, and they sell well, and those girls are excelling," Box said. "We even had some boys in (foods and clothing entries) and won reserve champions. I think that's awesome."
Getting participants involved in nontraditional roles is important, Box said.
"I put my daughters in electrical," she said. I want them to know when they go to college if a lamp breaks, you don't have to throw it away."
Box set up a display of projects Monday afternoon. The artifacts included areas of study like rocketry, geology and ceramics.
"Some of the kids were laughing, 'Can we bring my pig? We butchered it,'" she said. "I said, 'You can bring a picture of your pig.'"
The library display represents one aspect of the 4-H week. The Sunday church service at St. Paul United Church of Christ used 4-H'ers as ushers, greeters, scripture readers and in other parts of the service. Box said the organization also contacted Eudora schools, encouraging them to have 4-H participants talk about their activities for show and tell or in other aspects of the classroom.
"I sent a letter to all the schools telling them what's going on to let them know we're all out for the same cause raising healthy, drug-free, free-from-violence young adults," Box said. "You've got to keep kids buys nowadays."