4-H is celebrating its 100th year in Pacific County. It has had a tremendous positive significance impact on our youth and what they have done for our community. The Herald talked to a handful of people involved with 4-H throughout the years to get different perspectives about 4-H.
Guy Priest has been involved with 4-H since he was 10-years-old. "That's 66 years ago - but I did have some years out of contact with 4-H during university studies and my years of teaching elementary school."
Priest said that he's involved with 4-H because, "I really enjoy seeing young people develop skills and passion for the world around them."
Priest has a wide range of involvement with 4-H.
"My projects were poultry, beef, and garden, with some wood working added," Priest said. "I remember trying to raise some pheasants and how frustrating it was to try to do anything with them.
"In those years we had an annual poultry show in Raymond and the competition was stiff to see who could raise the fattest fryers," Priest said.
"My parents were both 4-H leaders for years and they gave me a great deal of encouragement and direction," Priest said.
"Camping was something I looked forward to and was active in our county camp as a camper and later as a counselor, and also the state 4-H camp on the WSU campus," he added.
"Upon graduation from WSU in 1962 I joined President Kennedy's Peace Corps to become a part of a team that went to the island of Borneo to start 4-H clubs in the jungle villages," Priest recalled. "That was a special time as we were one of the first Peace Corps teams to leave the USA and we were the first to do training on the big island of Hawaii."
Priest has many fond memories of 4-H.
"There were many happy memories but one of the best was being a part of the Senior 4-H group called the Builders Club," Priest said. "We square-danced at the county fair, did community service projects, helped the younger 4-H members, had a penny pitch at the county fair and also had a booth there selling ice cream and other goodies.
"Another highlight was being chosen as one of four Washington State delegates to the National 4-H Conference in Washington, DC in 1957, where we saw many sights and even met with then President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the White House."
Priest discussed the many skills youth obtain from being involved with 4-H.
"There are many skills gained from the 4-H experience," Priest said. "Among them are building leadership skills, learning to speak in public, developing good work habits, keeping records of daily and special activities, learning about issues that relate to daily living, developing fair and honest competitive skills.
Priest said that those involved with 4-H has a profound impact on the community.
"The 4-H pledge says it all," Priest said.
"I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world."
Priest said that 4-H is quite eclectic in all the skills it offers.
"There are many animal husbandry and home economics skills taught that will benefit the community where the 4-H program is active," he said. "Most clubs will participate in community service projects to better the community where they live.
"There is much to learn about the world around us and the 4-H program tries to broaden the young people's experience level," Priest offered. "Some develop skills they didn't even know they had.
"Practical knowledge is brought to the level of the young people's ability to comprehend," Priest continued. "Developing leadership skills can be a lifetime benefit; so can learning to care for animals properly, cooking a good meal, and learning to sew; plus so many more things."
Priest recalled how 4-H has transgressed over the years.
"During my years as a 4-H member, there was little, if any, TV, video games, sports activities, etcetera, so 4-H was a very important part of my growing up years," Priest informed. "Most 4-Hers at that time were taking agriculture or home economics projects, but now there is such a great number of project options.
There are also so many camps, summer sports activities, and other things that young people and families have a harder time fitting 4-H into their busy schedules."
At this year's Pacific County Fair Priest will again be the superintendent in the Poultry and Rabbit Barn.
"Since last year there were so few 4-H entries from our county in that barn I decided that we needed another 4-H club, so I helped to start the Homegrown Helpers Club," Priest said. "It looks like the club will greatly help the entries in that barn this year."