Oh, the Lessons You’ll Learn

The Amber Underwood Memorial News Competition >, supported by the Amber Underwood Memorial Endowment Fund, is an opportunity for 4-H members to showcase their writing and journalism skills. Members create a 500 word essay that shares a 4-H program/event, 4-H success story, current agricultural or rural community concern, or perhaps a stimulating conversation with a community leader.

The caliber of pieces that comes through the door was outstanding! 4-H Ontario definitely has some fantastic writers in our midst. This year, the senior winner for the competition was Jackie Shaw, and the junior winner was Ariana Tersteege. Both members wrote great stories sharing their experience in 4-H clubs and what it taught them.

This week I would like to share Jackie’s winning entry. Stay tuned next week to read Ariana’s story!

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Oh The Lesson’s You’ll Learn
By Jackie Shaw

The motto of 4-H is “Learn to do by Doing” however, I have realized that there are so many more lessons to learn by participating in the 4-H program. I was a member of the Damascus Woodworking Club this past spring and in one meeting there were a multitude of life lessons to be acquired.

The first lesson that I learned was that of teamwork. During this meeting club members were constructing birdhouses. There was only one nail-gun and both my younger sister and I needed to nail the shingles to our houses. We realized that if we worked together we could get the job done in a fraction of the time as we could have if we had worked individually. While one of us positioned the shingle on our roof the other would nail their shingle on and hand over the nail gun. This example of teamwork saved us time.

Overcoming my fears was lesson number two. At first I was very apprehensive about using the power saws to cut the wood for my birdhouse. However, after one of the leaders, Janice Walsh, reminded me of the 4-H motto I decided to give it a try—slowly. When I realized that I did not cut off any fingers I began to feel more comfortable around the tools and by the end of the meeting I was using them with ease.

The third lesson learned was that it is okay to ask for help when you need it. I was having a lot of trouble using the drill press to make an entry hole for the birdhouse. At first I did not want to ask for help because I thought I would be able to figure it out on my own. A younger member, however, saw my plight and offered his help. After I accepted, I realized that without his help I probably would not have been able to complete the task. Sometimes in life we don’t ask for assistance when we need it; this experience reminded me that asking for help is not a bad thing.

The final lesson to be learned was that it is important to be involved in the local community. The birdhouses that were constructed during the meeting were placed on the Arthur Walking Trail. This meant that not only would the birds be able to appreciate out efforts, but the whole community would be able to see the birdhouses when walking on the trail.

Overall, in the two hours of this meeting I was shown that one can learn many things that will be useful in a multitude of situations in life. From the benefits of teamwork, to asking for help when we need it, and having a sense of community spirit, 4-H has taught valuable lessons not only to the members of the Damascus Woodworking Club, but also to thousands of members worldwide. The most important lesson that will stay with me for the rest of my life however is that everyone can “Learn to do by Doing”.

Jackie Shaw is a senior Wellington 4-H member.  Jackie has completed over 30 projects including Sewing, Pizza and Scrapbooking.