Be­lieve in some­thing big­ger than yourself

The Covington News - - LOCAL - TERRI KIM­BLE FULLER­TON COLUM­NIST

“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.

Sub­mit­ted photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

New­ton County 4-H cel­e­brated In­de­pen­dence Day in the City of Ox­ford’s pa­rade on Fri­day.

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