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Posted: March 23, 2013 5:02 p.m.

Kimble: 4-H seeking tax-deductible donations

It might be a gloomy Saturday morning riding across Atlanta, but for the nearly 50 fourth, fifth and sixth graders who arrived, loaded a bus before 7:30 a.m. in Covington, the excitement level is high.

From an outside point of view, you would never know the students who are on their way to the District Project Achievement for Cloverleaf 4-H’ers didn’t know each other when they boarded.

These students learned to do demonstrations in the classroom back in September, and since then have presented four to six-minute demonstrations in club meetings.

Last month, 118 Cloverleaf 4-H’ers competed at County Project Achievement in Newton County, and the top 4-H’ers moved on to district competition held today. Today’s competition will be tough, but as I’m about to tell the students, it’s an honor just to be here.

For each 4-H’er on this bus, at least 20 are back home in Newton County today.

It takes a lot of hard work to prepare a winning demonstration, and a lot of nerve to get up and present it in front of your peers and the judges.

But it’s a moment you never forget — many adults can still tell me about their first 4-H project, even if it was 80 years ago.

Myself, I still remember my first project in the arts and crafts project from years ago. I painted a wooden heart with "I love my grandmother," and explained how other 4-H’ers could make their own painted project.

During my county competition, I was sure there were a million people in that little classroom, but there must have been no more than 40. I was already deciding what other project I could enter for district as we awaited the announcement of winners, because I knew there was no way this shy little fifth grader had just placed against those other projects.

Imagine my shock when I won first place.

My judge told me to ditch the notecards before district, so I made sure to take his advice. Doug Hargrove was a face I would go on to see many times in 4-H, because he is also a Master 4-H’er who won his project at the state level.

At district, I was again surprised to win first, and I mostly just remember the crowded auditorium and the sunburn I got later that day at White Water. But to this day, I know I benefited from the public speaking experience 4-H gave me 23 years ago, gaining confidence through the Project Achievement.

I was so shy before that year, the insurance man used to try to bribe me to talk to him. My aunt cut articles out of magazines, hoping they’d help me be more outgoing, and if you know me today, you’d find that hard to believe.

I know many of you reading this column today have a similar experience you could share. I’d love to hear your story of growing in 4-H. But we can also use your financial support.

Today’s trip will cost us nearly $1,000 including bus transportation, lunch, chaperones, registration and awards. We will collect around $250 in donations from the children. Through the generous support of donors in Newton County that we can make this happen every year for every child, regardless of financial situation.

All donations are tax deductible.

If you would like to have myself, or possibly a 4-H’er, present at your organization, church or other group meeting, please let me know.

Donations may be sent to Newton County 4-H, 1113 Usher Street, Suite 202, Covington, GA 30014, or brought in person to the second floor of the Newton County Administration Building. We are open from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

While you’re in our office, you can also purchase discounted Six Flags and White Water day passes or season passes, buy a 4-H T-shirt, browse our University of Georgia agricultural and nutrition publications, get a water test or soil test, and learn about the other services we offer.

Terri Kimble is the Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at 770-784-2010. or tkimble@uga.edu.

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