Believe in something bigger than yourself
“My 4-H values have stuck with me my entire life… I learned nothing worth having is not worth fighting for,” said Nancy Grace, Georgia 4-H alum, on the Rock Eagle stage a few weeks ago.
She may be better known by most as a fiery cable show host, but nearly a thousand 4-H’ers, Master 4-H members and UGA Extension supporters saw a different side to the well-known television presence at State 4-H Council this year.
Grace reminisced about her 4-H days, describing the hundreds of practices for each and every 4-H speech she ever presented.
By the time she made it in front of a jury many years later, she said she didn’t feel nervous at all because, “I’ve been doing it since the fifth grade.”
She competed in 4-H home decoration projects, “but all I really wanted to be was a camp counselor.”
In fact, some of you may have had her as a Rock Eagle camp counselor, because she did achieve that 4-H goal as a college student.
She went on to briefly tell 4-H’ers of her journey after that time, losing her fiancée in a murder, which moved her to swap majors from English literature to criminal law.
Grace spoke of the long days and late nights studying cases and practicing speeches, putting in the work necessary to win cases.
But what impressed me the most was that this largerthan-life television personality was transformed on the Rock Eagle stage.
Her hair wasn’t perfect.
The voice was softer as she led a Muscogee camp cheer.
She joked, laughed and showed great patience and humor as her children joined her on stage and began rifling through the podium as she spoke.
Nancy Grace was not the famous television prosecutor while on that stage — she was just another 4-H’er.
She also announced that she and her husband are new 4-H volunteer leaders in their county, ready to lead a 4-H club at her children’s school.
And she reminded 4-H’ers of a lesson so many of us learn in the years after our active 4-H days: “Those 4-H friends will be your dearest and truest friends.”
I wasn’t the only one in the audience moved by her speech. As I glanced around the auditorium, youths and adults alike were absorbed in her words.
Nearly everyone was wearing red, white, blue or green for the patriot- ic-themed 4-H event.
On a weekend celebrating citizenship and patriotism, Grace’s reminders to use the values and lessons learned in 4-H to make a difference in the world were right on the mark.
Newton 4-H’ers Mallori Johnson of Eastside High and Jayla Porter of Newton High were in attendance, as well as volunteer leaders Doug Kimble, Elaine Kimble, Leslie Lathem, Mary Lathem and Scott Fullerton.
On Friday, 4-H’ers celebrated citizenship in a fun way with a float in the Oxford Fourth of July parade.
With a trailer provided by Mitcham Farms and tractor provided by volunteer leader Doug Kimble, Newton 4-H’ers and their family and friends celebrated Independence Day and 175 years of the city of Oxford.
We were also joined by Ken Fullerton of Stockbridge, Georgia, and his 1929 Hudson.
Newton 4-H’ers participating in the parade were Kacie Gartner, Kara Gartner, Kayla Gartner, MaKenzy McCord, Grace Smith, Hunter Stevenson and Mitchell Witcher. They were joined by Ohio 4-H’er Elyse White; volunteer leaders Mary Digby-Smith, Scott Fullerton, Sandra Gartner, Will Gartner, Doug Kimble, Elaine Kimble, and Shannon Witcher; and several friends and family.
4-H’er Jane O’Toole sang the National Anthem at Old Church during the festivities.
Each of these 4-H’ers is active throughout the year learning about citizenship, serving in the community, practicing being better leaders and leading young 4-H’ers to start that same journey.
4-H meetings begin in August, so email your contact information to tkimble@uga. edu if you would like a meeting reminder for anyone who will turn age 9 during 2014, all the way through high school.
As Nancy Grace reminded us a few weeks ago at Rock Eagle, “In 4-H you learn to believe in something bigger than yourself.”
Terri Kimble Fullerton is a Newton County 4- H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at tkimble@ uga. edu.
Newton County 4-H celebrated Independence Day in the City of Oxford’s parade on Friday.