I was 12, riding the shoes off my old horse. My parents didn’t know one end of a horse from the other; so all of my information and experience with my horse was rather hit and miss. I’d save money from picking wild blackberries and wild mushrooms to buy that horse. She cost $150. We brought her home in the back of our pickup truck; the horse and I together, as my mom drove very slowly all the way from Grayland to Nemah.
Thankfully, for the horse and I both, Jeanie Peterson started a 4H group for horses. Kids from Nemah, Naselle and South Bend joined the group. I was starved for information, training techniques and the desire to compete. Looking back as an adult, I’m so thankful for the hours of instruction, mentoring, and participation this woman offered us all.
I’m saddened to learn that Pacific County has lost Valerie Rowe as a 4H leader for young boys and girls wanting to learn more about horses. I have seen her dedication to her young riders. Kids from modest beginnings, like me, have an opportunity to build self-confidence and competitive skills. They learn how to win and lose and get along with others.
4H leaders are volunteers, spending endless hours with their kids. 4H extension educators, who9 are paid positions overseeing these volunteers should remain professional and educational at all times; after all, it’s what we are paying them to do.
Toni Gwin is Pacific County’s 4H extension educator.
Thank you, Valerie Rowe, for years of volunteer work. We need more dedicated individuals like you involved with 4H. Your decision to step down is a loss for the young riders in Pacific County.
Marissa Williams Dugan