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Posted: June 2, 2012 4:01 p.m.

Kimble: Make a difference all the while laughing

Among this year’s high school graduates are several 4-H’ers, including two who earned top 4-H honors: Ken Galloway and Morgan Worley.

I’ve struggled to find just what I’d like to tell them.

They probably already have Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” and it’s so often read that I’d rather not repeat that one.

So instead, I’m borrowing advice from one of my favorite folk singers/storytellers: “It’s not naive to think we can change the world, it’s naive to think we could possibly be in the world and not change it.”

David LaMotte has been a one-man travelling band, a Rotary International Peace Scholar, a children’s book writer, a husband, a father and a friend — and I can’t think of a better role model for this year’s 4-H graduates.

Ken, Morgan and the other 4-H’ers graduating this year have already made a mark on our community and the larger world.

They’ve mentored younger 4-H’ers, volunteered for local organizations and shared their talents through project work.

They’ve made the world, and Covington, a little better place, whether they’ve been trying to or not.
Morgan lives and breathes horses.

She’s been with the Newton County 4-H Horse Club for 11 years — joining long before she was even old enough to compete.

And that’s long before she ever owned or leased a horse, too.

Horse Club members compete in knowledge bowls and events covering endless amounts of veterinary and technical information, so it can take many years to even scratch the surface well enough to place in one of these team competitions.
Morgan mastered, which means she won at the state level in a high school 4-H competition, just last year in Hippology with two teammates.

She now mentors younger competitors in that competition and continues to compete in Horse Judging and Horse Quiz Bowl.

She has also competed in horse shows, qualifying for the South-Eastern Regionals three times. Her horse photography was featured at the Georgia National Fair after winning, as well.

Ken’s focus in 4-H has been on computer technology. He moved from a simple middle school project on Microsoft Office software to a detailed high school demonstration on how geographic information systems is used for flood mapping to protect our water quality in Newton County.

He volunteered in the Newton County-Covington GIS department, taught local middle school students about GIS mapping, and set up a Newton County 4-H geocache.

Ken served on the Georgia 4-H Technology Team and taught classes to 4-H’ers across the state about GIS.

If you hold two fingers so close they almost touch, you can see how close Ken’s project came to winning Master 4-H status the last 3 years.

He heads to State 4-H Congress next month, so go ahead and cross your fingers for him.

But don’t worry too much — I know Ken doesn’t need Master 4-H status to remind him he’s a success these days.

After all these years of 4-H project work, Ken has learned that success is something you can’t put on paper.

Ken and Morgan have both learned there’s more to life than just their project areas, and that helps each to see the impact they can make each day.

Ken led our first 4-H Relay for Life team for two years before stepping up to serve the countywide Relay committee the last two years.

Morgan is in her twelfth year volunteering with the Special Olympics Equestrian Team on a local and state level, and also volunteers at Newton Medical.

Morgan and Ken both know by now that they make an impact every day, so what else would I like them to remember?
Laugh.  Don’t let bad days or negative people ruin your happiness.

In LaMotte’s newly released book, “White Flour,” a group fights a hateful protest with clowns.
Yes, clowns.  Seems silly, and that’s just what it was.  I need to fight more battles with humor instead of hate, too.

So to Ken and Morgan: never forget that you make a difference every day, just by being you.  And never forget to laugh.

(Oh, and if you win the lottery, remember Newton 4-H!)

To learn more about David LaMotte and his work, visit www.davidlamotte.

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