Our winter has been unseasonably cold. In the beginning, DH hustled out each evening with drop cloth to protect our beautiful plants from the frost and now, we’ve thrown in the drop cloth so to speak. We’re patiently waiting for spring warmth to see what might emerge and recover from our brown and crispy landscape. At the same time, across town I did find a group however that was quite productive when they heard the frost was near.
7th grader, Kaela H., worked with the other members of the Tumbleweeds 4-H club to juice 45 lbs of lemons before the frost made mush of them. The crew worked together to create lemon juice, make it into a salable product, construct a marketing campaign and operate their neighborhood lemonade stand on a recent weekend. They created a memories, lasting knowledge and a source of community.
Ok, in full disclosure, I was a long-time 4H kid. But what I recently learned was that the original 4-H intent was to create practical and “hands-on” learning. The idea sprang from a desire to make public school education more connected to country life. I could swear that I’ve heard many of us say that we want our kids to know where their food comes from. To me, that sounds like alignment.
Of course 4H is not new. Nor are lemonade stands but when I really take them apart and examine what’s going on, isn’t a 4H lemonade stand perfectly symbolic of what we ought to be trying to accomplish in our communities today?
1. They’re accessing locally grown produce – check
2. The kids are doing the work themselves and learning skills and becoming self reliant – check
3. The community members come together to purchase lemonade and support a locally owned business – check
4. In creating the lemonade stand, the kids learn about micro-enterprise in the food industry – check
5. Twenty percent of the proceeds of Kaela’s stand are donated to the Humane Society cultivating a sense of philanthropy – check
6. The stand itself creates an opportunity for neighbors to gather for refreshments, to talk, and to be neighborly – check
Here’s a video of Kaela and her friends explaining how they went about their project:
I’m happy to know that 4H is alive and well. While my own kids likely have ample activities without it, it’s definitely an organization they would benefit from. In fact, I think we would all benefit from being a little more 4H like.
Consider the 4H pledge:
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.
- Fresh local lemon juice