John W. Arceneaux | 2/1/2006 3:06:55 AM
The 4-H livestock show season is upon us and offers an opportunity for the showcasing of the youth exhibitors and their animals. Parish shows are the first step of the journey followed by the district and state shows.
"All these events provide an opportunity for the real purpose of livestock projects and shows, which is the development of grand champion youth through the development of quality livestock," says LSU AgCenter 4-H and character education expert John Arceneaux.
Youth choose projects they are interested in and learn about the industry, caring for the animals and preparing them for exhibiting. Arceneaux explains that the related responsibilities and interactions with caring adults enable the development of character and life skills essential for youth in their world and as they transition into adulthood.
Projects are family-type experiences and often involve non-family members playing a major role in the development of a youth and care of an animal. Youth form bonds and networks with youth and adults from theirs and other parishes that often lasts a lifetime.
The Six Pillars of Character of the Character Counts! Coalition is the character framework for projects and exhibiting. Parents, youth, volunteers, breeders, animals buyers, spectators, FFA advisers and Extension personnel serve as role models and are expected to T.E.A.M. – teach, enforce, advocate and model - the Six Pillars.
"Everything said and done should demonstrate trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship," Arceneaux says.
Adults are to see that youth care for, fit and show their animals themselves. Youth learn by doing. While recognizing a young person may need help to train and fit an animal, the intention is for the responsible adults to ensure the youth does all he or she is capable of doing.
"The type or size of an animal doesn’t determine the character development value of a project," Arceneaux says, explaining, "Youth have the same opportunity to develop character and learn livestock skills with a rabbit project as with a large animal project. The work scope is different, but the responsibilities are the same."
Contact your parish LSU AgCenter office to learn about the character education materials and services available through Louisiana 4-H. Information is also available through visiting the Character Education section under the Louisiana 4-H Web site: http://www.louisiana4h.org/.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com
Source: John Arceneaux: (225)578-2424, or Jarceneaux@agcenter.lsu.edu