On the street
I won a first-place trophy for the children’s tractor pull at the State Fair in Hutchinson.
Arthur Queen's smile told the story. His granddaughter, Libby, had just been awarded a Douglas County 4-H Spirit Award, and for Queen, things had come full circle.
"Twenty-six years ago, I started this award for kids who didn't always win at the fair but were really good kids and helped others and had a really good attitude," Queen said.
Libby Queen was one of 250 4-H'ers honored at Sunday's Achievement Celebration at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. Group members were recognized for their dedication to 4-H and their communities, said Emily Morehouse, youth development agent for 4-H Douglas County. She said 4-H provided a foundation for youth to become leaders.
"I really feel (4-H) contributes to leadership within the schools," Morehouse said. "Many of these kids serve on the student councils (and the) national honor society, so while we're growing them at 4-H, they're also become leaders in their schools, as well."
About 300 4-H members and their families filled the fairgrounds' Building 21, seated around tables festooned with bouquets of colorful balloons. Members from each of the area's 11 clubs were recognized in speeches from regional representatives.
Kirstyn Heine, a ninth-grader at South Junior High School, was one of two members given the I Dare You Award, which recognizes character and leadership qualities. She said she learned a lot during a stint at a camp called Leadership 101.
"Leadership is 4-H," she said. As for kids who want to follow in her footsteps, she suggested, "Get into 4-H. It helps you in everything. It's helped me in school a lot." The skills she has learned from 4-H has given her the confidence to succeed in public speaking, she said.
For Libby Queen, a senior at Lawrence High School, 4-H is a place for young people to explore their interests.
"It's a good opportunity for kids who don't necessarily want to do sports or anything like that," she said.
She said she was thrilled to receive the 4-H Spirit Award. "It's really cool that other people have recognized my efforts and involvement. That makes me feel really good."
And 4-H's community-minded agenda is beneficial for everyone, she said.
"Always be willing to help and get involved in any way you can," she said. "It makes you feel good and it's good for the community."
With her grandfather looking on, their kindred spirits were obvious.
Helping the community, Arthur Queen said, is "the right thing to do, whether you get credit or not."