4-H project com­pe­ti­tion Jan. 9


Ev­ery eye is on you. The room is silent, and sud­denly you can’t re­mem­ber the in­tro­duc­tion to your speech.

You look down at the note cards clutched tightly in your hands for the cue, glance over to be sure the posters are right side up, and take the plunge.

Five min­utes later you’re en­joy­ing the sweet ap­plause. and the fear is nearly for­got­ten.

“Don’t worry,” you tell your friend who is up next. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought.”

Some fifth-graders are gifted with the con­fi­dence to do this with­out but­ter­flies beat­ing fran­ti­cally to es­cape from the pit of their stom­achs, but most of us have a very sim­i­lar case of the nerves.

More than 80 per­cent of fifth-graders in Newton County 4-H clubs pre­sented their 4-H demon­stra­tions in the fall, and now the test of County Project Achieve­ment comes this week.

Start­ing 6:15 p.m. Thurs­day, Clover­leaf 4-H’ers from across Newton County will com­pete at Eastside High School

It’s not too late if your 4-H’er has yet to reg­is­ter; just call at 770-784-2010. We can also use more judges if you can vol­un­teer.

Ev­ery county project com­peti­tor earns 5,000 4-H points for his/her club and an in­vi­ta­tion to the

at ban­quet. Top com­peti­tors in each project ad­vance to dis­trict com­pe­ti­tion.

Com­peti­tors who reach the dis­trict level get a week of early camp reg­is­tra­tion and qual­ify to ap­ply for camp schol­ar­ships. But more than all that, each gains some­thing that will last a life­time.

Most of the kids can’t be­lieve how ner­vous I was to present my first demon­stra­tion.

My aunt would cut out ar­ti­cles about over­com­ing shy­ness as I avoided talk­ing to cus­tomers at her shop. The insurance man used to give me pocket change to bribe me to say hello.

And fifth grade was the cul­mi­na­tion of prob­a­bly the worst teas­ing I en­dured through school, so stand­ing in front of those class­mates wasn’t my idea of a good time.

But my 4-H leader, Ms. Myra Hayes, said we’d earn 4-H points for do­ing our speeches, and I couldn’t pass that up.

To this day, I ad­mire most lead­ers and teach­ers who ex­pected the most from me.

I learned more from the col­lege pro­fes­sor who ex­pected us to read court sum­maries for hours and ac­tu­ally re­mem­ber them for class dis­cus­sion, be­fore giv­ing all-es­say ex­ams, than I did from the pro­fes­sor who read the text to us each day like preschool­ers and gave the min­i­mum two or three mul­ti­ple-choice tests.

And I ben­e­fited the most when my 4-H lead­ers pushed me to step out­side my com­fort zone.

Even af­ter giv­ing my pre­sen­ta­tion in the class­room, it was still pretty hard at County Project Achieve­ment. I prom­ise you, I think there were a mil­lion peo­ple, or at least a thou­sand, in that school class­room watch­ing the arts and crafts demon­stra­tions!

Af­ter fac­ing my fear and that huge crowd, I was al­ready com­ing up with a con­tin­gency plan as I we waited on the re­sults. I heard that if we didn’t win, we could sign up for a project that no one en­tered, and I had al­ready thought of a project I’d be will­ing to do when they called my name in first place.

My judge, Doug Har­grove, came over to sug­gest I lost the note cards be­fore dis­trict com­pe­ti­tion, and the re­al­ity set in—I had re­ally done it!

I hardly re­mem­ber the dis­trict com­pe­ti­tion, but I won again.

At the 4-H ban­quet that year, I watched the older 4-H’ers win awards for state and na­tional events, judg­ing teams and the cov­eted “Mas­ter 4-H Club.”

At that point I thought, “Who cares who I had to talk in front of next?” I had my goal.

Speeches even­tu­ally got eas­ier to give, de­spite a few lin­ger­ing but­ter­flies, and it paid div­i­dends.

My projects took me on five free trips to Rock Ea­gle, one to State 4-H Congress and one to Na­tional 4-H Congress.

This, in ad­di­tion to my other 4-H work, led to col­lege schol­ar­ships and even a col­lege job.

While at­tend­ing col­lege, paid in part by my speak­ing with 4-H, one of my first classes was pub­lic speak­ing with about 25 fresh­men. Half the class was ter­ri­fied when we got our first as­sign­ment: a five-minute speech with posters and props.

Me? I’d been do­ing that and more since the fifth grade thanks to 4-H.

“Don’t worry,” I told them. “It isn’t as hard as you think.”

Ms. Myra would be proud.

Terri Kim­ble Fuller­ton is a Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Co­op­er­a­tive Ex­ten­sion. She can be reached at tkim­ble@ uga.edu.

Through Jan. 20 the game ranch is of­fer­ing Dol­lar Days, so the price of ad­mis­sion is just $1! The down­side is that it’s cold out­side and you’ll have to bun­dle up, and many of the an­i­mals might be hiding out in their lit­tle bur­rows or nests or what­ever sorts of homes they have built for them­selves in the pimped-out game ranch.

The up­side? The price, of course, and the fact that it will be a lot less crowded, mean­ing the an­i­mals won’t have gorged them­selves on crack­ers and car­rots by the time you get there to feed them.

I love the zoo, but it’s

You can al­ways get an an­nual pass to LE­GOLAND, but only through the end of this month can you buy one and get a sec­ond one to­tally free! If this seems like a waste of money, then you’ve ob­vi­ously never been to the glory that is LE­GOLAND. Ev­ery­one loves LE­GOS, as long as there is no chance of step­ping on one at 3 a.m. while try­ing to get a glass of wa­ter in bare feet. Don’t ask. Plus, it’s se­ri­ously a great present for some­one with kids. Rain­ing, snow­ing, hot­ter than the sur­face of the sun? Doesn’t mat­ter; just take them to LE­GOLAND! The pass also gets you 10 per­cent off birth­day par­ties and the re­tail shop and 20 per­cent off at the café.

Dar­rell Everidge/The Cov­ing­ton News

Pedes­tri­ans walk­ing around the Cov­ing­ton square had to bun­dle up dur­ing the weekend’s cold tem­per­a­tures, which are set to con­tinue into this week.

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