NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nearing its 50th anniversary, the 4-H program has provided young people hands on learning in a wide range of areas. This week is National 4-H Week, the same week as the Pineywoods Fair in Nacogdoches. The fairgrounds provide a perfect venue to promote the organization.
"I think it's fun because you get to learn new things," Maegan Wallace of Woden 4-H club said moments before her competition in the market goat show.
Maegan has learned a lot about taking care of her goat, Tex.
"You got to feed him, wash him [and] make sure his water is clean," said the youngsters.
All that work can pay off.
"It gives me a lot of money for college," shared Ashley Gibson, a Garrison student. "I've been doing this for a couple of years, so it helps a lot."
So far Ashley has about $1,000 socked away for college. Projects include traditional animal agriculture, but also so much more.
"It's more than sows, plows and cooking," Jeannette Milstead wants everyone to know. "We do a lot of other things. We do shotgun sports. We have community service activities that kids do."
4-H is open to all young people ages nine to 19. Check with your local county extension agent to join the free program. The interest often extends into Future Farmers of America (FFA), a school program where team work shines through in the ag mechanics show.
"It's really a learning experience for the FFA members," Rachel Blount, from Chireno High School explained. "They learn hard work and what it takes to provide for themselves. Some of these things they can eventually put into their homes."
Students build picnic tables, deer blinds, benches and other decorative and useful items.
The 4-H mission is to empower youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults.
That's certainly evident this week at the Pineywoods Fair.