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4-H forever: Looking back, looking forward
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Last year on Christmas break, I bought a tall container and decorated it to hold little notes.

We’ve jotted down notes about little things we’re thankful for during the year, as well as the big things, too.

So, I’m guessing we probably put in the day we were engaged last January, the days we bought the house and moved, and most likely our wedding day.

But then again, life got pretty busy this year, and the jar isn’t as full as I had expected.

So maybe we were too busy to write notes those days, and instead the notes that half-fill the jar are things like the joy of sitting on the front porch with family, visiting with wonderful new neighbors, or how sweet the dog looks when she sleeps.

I guess I’ll see for sure on New Year’s Eve when we open all the slips to read and then start over again. It seems like a really fitting way to celebrate the new year, so I think I may start the same tradition at work.

It will be kind of like seeing a video of recent alumni in a college’s swing-dance flash mob and remembering how you both did your first flash mob together a few summers ago at Rock Eagle in front of several hundred kids.

In case you haven’t seen one before, a flash mob is when a group of people choreograph a big group dance, but then pretend to be casual bystanders in a large group until they just start dancing .

So here’s what I think would have been in our 4-H jar this year.

The most recent notes would be at the top, so someone would have commented how much fun 4-H’ers had delivering goodies to the fire departments in Covington and Newton County on Christmas Day.

On Monday, a busload of 4-H members stopped by the Garden of Gethsemane homeless shelter in Covington to deliver hundreds of toiletries, dozens of blankets, new toys, gently used books and other items for those staying over the holidays and throughout the year.

We lost a volunteer leader, David Dorsey, this year, far too young. Many of our 4-H’ers knew him as a favorite camp leader, and it reminded us just how thankful we are for each and every one of our volunteer leaders.

Many of our volunteers, just like David, don’t even have kids in the program, yet take personal time from jobs and family to take children to camp, drive us all over the place, or coach a team or club.

The chair of Newton County’s Relay for Life this year is Ken Galloway, who also started our 4-H Relay for Life team five years ago. He lost his grandfather to cancer last week, and I know that day I’d have written a note to say how thankful I am for they way Relay lets our 4-H’ers do something in the fight against this disease.

On days like last weekend we can feel so powerless, but on nights like the one to come in April, we’ll be reminded how much work is being done to find a cure, by everyone from top-level scientists and doctors to the fundraising work done by children right here in our own county. We’re proud that Ken is using the experience he gained leading our team of 4-H’ers to lead our entire county today.

The 4-H’ers who managed to finish portfolios before the break would certainly have dropped a note in, perhaps only saying "finished!"

You know what? I’ve only reflected on the last few weeks, and I’m already out of space. I guess I better buy a really big jar for the 4-H office.

Want to drop a note in our jar, or get information to start your own? We’d love to see you in 2014!

Terri Kimble Fullerton is a Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at