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NMSU's 4-H youth honor county commissioners in Alamogordo

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. - The goal of 4-H is to offer young people opportunities to learn life lessons that will help them become productive, responsible adults. Even though members are largely responsible for creating their own definition of success through the program, they still need support and encouragement from leaders within the community to help them achieve their goals.

At an Otero County Commission meeting Oct. 13, 4-H leaders presented members of the commission with a certificate of appreciation. From left are Paden Christensen, Shawna McNatt, County Commission Chairman Doug Moore, Wrangler Yarbrough, Danielle Mendoza, Chevy Josselyn, Chandler Alexander and County Commissioner Ronny Rardin. (NMSU photo by Audry Olmsted)

In early October, Otero County 4-H leaders presented the county commissioners with a certificate of appreciation for their extensive involvement with the group's members.

"We wanted to say thank you to the county commissioners for all the hard work they do because I don't think they get to hear 'thank you' enough," said Katie Ramsey, 4-H agent for New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service in Alamogordo.

The first full week of October each year is celebrated as National 4-H Week and each year, Ramsey said, her members honor those who have supported them over time. Besides offering moral support and being available to speak to 4-H members at events, commissioners have also provided funding for project materials.

"The commissioners do a lot of work with 4-H and FFA and with Extension to make sure we're taken care of, so they just need to know we appreciate everything they do and the financial support they give us," said Wrangler Yarbrough, president of the Alamogordo 4-H club.

Ramsey and other 4-H leaders who attended the appreciation ceremony said the organization gives members an opportunity to gain life skills, such as leadership and citizenship, and also teaches them about local government practices.

"I enjoy being a part of 4-H because you meet a lot of new people and it teaches you about leadership and how to get along with people," said Danielle Mendoza. "You learn skills that are going to last you the rest of your life."

Commissioners said they were grateful to Ramsey and the 4-H youth for recognizing them.

"It is very important to invest in our future and these young people are the future of America and with good leaders we will produce and give these kids the opportunity to become valued leaders and citizens," said Ronny Rardin, Otero County commissioner.

"And it is just like [Ramsey] to teach the kids to show a little respect and appreciation for what they receive. I was proud to be a part of that," he added.

Ramsey said that just as commissioners and members of the public can be leaders to 4-H members, 4-H leaders can be role models for the younger generation of 4-H participants.

"The really neat thing about 4-H is that it is run by the youth," she said. "They get to make the decisions. It is amazing to me that these kids have such high aspirations and motivation. It's all about focusing it on something positive ... and letting our young people have a say in what activities they want to do."