What a magical weekend at Wahsega 4-H Center we’ve had for Master 4-H Camp.
There was a proposal up by the waterfall as people began arriving, and tonight (Saturday) Scott and I are getting married by the covered bridge.
Ward Creek has never rushed through camp quite so quickly, or deeply, on any of my trips since I was 14 years old, so maybe it will wash all the snakes downstream.
The waterwheel is even back up and running by the entrance to greet guests.
I don’t often write to teens, since I figure they don’t read the newspaper, but today’s the exception.
So 4-H’ers, read this one, even if you laugh at me and disregard everything I say.
But I hope, especially since I’m not your parent, that I get just the teensiest bit of a chance to give a little advice.
A few of my high school 4-H friends are here for the weekend, and it so quickly brought back all those years of Senior 4-H Camp, Senior Conference, DPA, National 4-H Congress and even volunteering at the 1996 Paralympics.
Yes, I know — to 4-H’ers who were born on or mostly after that date, I just made myself look really old.
I remember a couple getting married when I was in middle school, and I thought, “Wow, she was really lucky to find someone this old!” I’m pretty sure I’m at least a few years older than she was at that time.
Somehow movies gave me the idea that everyone had to get married by 21 or 22, or you’d be old and sad and alone.
I know, it seems like everyone is pairing off. Back then it seemed like a mad rush to find someone, because all the good ones would go fast, right?
By the end of college, there was a steady stream of weddings and babies.
But, of course, there was also the steady stream of divorces, custody arrangements and drama right behind.
Don’t even think about it. In fact, don’t think about love at all. As much as you couldn’t have told me this when I was your age, don’t worry.
I’ve been told I was too picky, but boy am I glad I waited.
In the meantime, I’ve made friends I hope to have for a lifetime.
I’ve seen Newfoundland, Belize, Scotland and Western Australia.
I bought a car on my own and paid it off. I tried out a couple of jobs until I found my life’s calling in 4-H.
I’ve scrapbooked, square-danced, photographed, camped, hiked, laughed and lived.
I learned to always make the best decision for myself, because if someone in my life (family included) gets upset or pouts because I did it, they weren’t worth worrying over anyway.
I’m not the person I was when I was 18, or even when I was 25.
All those Facebook quotes about how arguing is normal, or tough times make you stronger together, ignore them.
Sure, tough times will make you stronger, but they don’t mean arguing every other day. That’s for the big stuff that may come down the line (or buying a house together, which I’m convinced has been more effective at teaching us about stress than anything).
Today, as I get married, I’m not worried over the weather, whether or not all the colors match or what anyone is wearing. I didn’t spend a fortune on anything for the wedding, but I worked in details I would appreciate, like s’mores and a covered bridge.
Tonight, family and friends will gather with us to celebrate our marriage and kick it off with a little square dancing.
I know, it’s not normal, but who really is normal, anyway?
So at that next dance, ask someone to dance. Laugh. Never forget these days. But don’t worry too much about tomorrow, because it’ll be here before you know it.
And you won’t regret a thing.
Terri Kimble Fullerton is the Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.