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Posted: October 6, 2010 12:30 a.m.

4-H’er McCord says 4-H is about friends

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MaKenzy McCord has done it all in 4-H.

The home-schooled sixth-grader in the last two years has been involved in 4-H20 ambassadors, livestock judging, poultry judging, cotton bowl and consumer jamboree, forestry judging, summer camp, craft fundraisers, pop tab and book collections, shooting sports, and project achievement.

She has a hard time naming one favorite activity.

Her Outstanding Cloverleaf 4-H’er trophy from awards night is "somewhere with my mom," so 4-H for her doesn’t seem to be all about the awards, either.

The 4-H pins she earned for judging teams and BB competitions are on her purse, but they’re not there for show.

"It’s the only place I won’t lose them," she said.

"4-H is the place I get to see people. "You know, being a home-schooler you don’t really get to see a lot of people."

She rattles off a list of friends that include home and private school students, from elementary to high school.

MaKenzy’s mom, Jamie McCord, first called the 4-H office when her daughter was in the fourth grade. MaKenzy joined the home school 4-H club and within a few months joined two 4-H teams: the poultry judging team and the Project S.A.F.E. (shooting, awareness, fun and education) BB team.

Project S.A.F.E. members focus on safety, then on accuracy and sportsmanship. MaKenzy said she already enjoyed shooting and hunting when she joined the team.

Her favorite activity is poultry judging, she said, because you "learn a whole bunch, like how to grade eggs inside and outside just by looking at it." 

Last year, the McCords built a chicken coop and began raising the 4-H white leghorn hens at their house for practice. They still have five 4-H hens as well as eight others.

"I tried to name them," said MaKenzy, "but they all look the same so it just didn’t work."

They’re pretty special hens, though, because they wrote to her at 4-H summer camp last June, although maybe with a little help from mom.

MaKenzy’s parents are both active 4-H volunteers. Scott is a BB team coach and Jamie helps with everything from club meetings to fundraisers and even serves as a camp nurse.

Jamie participated in Newton 4-H with County Agent Ed Hunt through elementary and middle school, competing in project achievement and summer camps.

MaKenzy’s great-grandparents, James and Betty Garner, were also 4-H’ers.

"It’s easy to get into something when your kid is excited about it, but it’s especially easy to volunteer when you’re as passionate about it," said Jamie.

Jamie said her daughter would rather do 4-H than dancing or ball or all those other activities out there, and the more she wants to be in the more we do, too.

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