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My 4-H Story


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** This story is appropriate for use in place of a sermon during 4-H Sunday Services. **

Characters: (listed in order of appearance)
    Narrator
    4-H'ers thoughts (character is never seen on stage; just a voice)
    Leadership
    4-H'er
    Service
    Citizenship
    Breeze (character may or may not be seen)

Narrator: In John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan's dream unfolds as he lies in prison. In it he envisions the burdened pilgrim looking away from his own house with a book in his hand, clothed in filthy rags and desiring a better country. The allegory unfolds as Christian meets many people along the way. Some were good, such as Prudence, Evangelist, and Piety; however, others like Mr. Worldly Wiseman and Obstinate did not have his best interest in mind. These good and bad people guided his path while he ran toward the Celestial City.

4-H'ers thoughts: I recognize that 4-H has been my vehicle to meet "people" named Leadership, Citizenship, Service, and Communication in addition to other virtues and symbols in the "progress" of my life.

Narrator: And so begins the allegory of 4-H'ers Progress…

4-H'er thoughts: While contemplating cumulative records at my computer, my eyes became strained and tired, and I lay myself down to sleep. I dreamed a dream, and in it I saw a 4-H'er in his home working diligently upon his project books. Shortly I arose and went out the door above which was written "Hospitality," and went to seek relaxation in the garden.

Narrator: Up to 4-H'er strode a man out of the bushes who introduced himself as Leadership.

Leadership: Why do you take such a break? You know that good leaders always work hard to lead their charges by example?

4-H'er: Why, that is what I attempt to do. The 4-H club that I started in my home last year had made its focus horticulture, and we are constructing a club garden. This club has been my most rewarding experience ever. I am the leader for 15 children between the ages of eight and twelve. I must confess to you that I was a bit reluctant in the beginning about working with younger children, but I have begun to enjoy each meeting more than the last. We hold the meetings here in my home called Hospitality, and I use my past 4-H experiences as material for a new program every month. I'm excited when I think about the possibilities in store for this club in the years to come, especially this garden.

Leadership: You realize that leading is more than merely guiding a group. You also realize that it is much hard work, and that you may become quite soiled and dirty while laboring in your garden, pulling at weeds and rocks?

4-H'er: Yes, during State Council Conference in Greensboro, the Northwest District officer team helped conduct a workshop on leadership and community service. The main message of the workshop was that leadership and service are often the same thing. We pointed out that being a leader is not always a glamorous occupation, and that by serving those less fortunate we are an example to others.

Leadership: So, you have met my friend Service.

4-H'er: No sir, but I have heard of her and have striven to follow her example. Do you know where I might find her abode?

Leadership (pointing with his finger): Duck through that hole in the garden fence from whence I came and follow the narrow path where the clover grows in abundance.

Narrator: So 4-H'er sprang quickly down the path and soon made his way to the cottage and stopped there, for he beheld a beautiful, clean, luxurious dwelling that seemed to grow out of the path. In truth, it was so rooted in that place that it appeared that Service's home could not be separated from the clover upon which it rested, and upon the door post was inscribed the word "Community."

4-H'er (lady of the house appears): If you are Service, then why have you such a luxurious and beautiful house? Should you not have given it and all your other possessions away?

Service: When a person lends his time and talents, which are more important than mere gold or silver, he finds that he receives just as much or more than the one he serves and receives gifts incorruptible and undefiled. You yourself have received much from your labor in community service.

4-H'er: I have always enjoyed working with the elderly. In fact, I have been a monthly volunteer at a Rehabilitation Center for three years, and no, I haven't tired of going back. (pausing and reflecting). I have taught many classes to younger children on vermicomposting and horticulture, and I find that I learn just as much as the students when I teach. I am encouraging club members to serve by arranging service projects.

Service (beckoning): Come through my house to the other side that you may see a vision.

Narrator: At this, she brought him in to a room where rested a telephone, a computer, a pen in the shape of a sword, and a television camera. The stately wooden podium that supported these items was labeled "Communication."

4-H'ers thoughts: I saw in my dream that the young 4-H'er was delighted to see this sight. I thought of the speeches I had given to the assembly at the National Junior Horticulture Association National Convention at a large wooden podium just like the one before me. I remembered the letters that I had written by pen (which some had told him were mightier than the sword), by word processing, and by email to friends, donors, officers, and leaders in NJHA as Central Director and National Secretary. And lastly, I was thankful that I had learned to speak in front of a television camera about community service.

Narrator: At once the vision vanished along with the home of Service, and 4-H'er was standing again up on the lush clover road. A scroll was in his hand, which he slowly unrolled to examine its contents. On it was written in flowing script:
    Search the clover road at pace,
    And find your purpose in this place;
    Seek the tools of rule and law
    To change the course of human race.
4-H'ers thoughts: What means this? I thought as I continued on. As I recited the prose continually in my head, it reminded me of past experiences with rule and law that had deeply affected me.

Narrator: Two summers ago he had the honor of being a page in the State House of Representatives in Raleigh. The duties of a page are to distribute flyers and information before each session, pass and carry notes, documents, and food during session, and to run errands from building to building when the body was not in session.

4-H'ers thoughts: I remember standing almost motionless for five hours during the last session, attending the Speaker of the House! During my stay in Raleigh I learned much about my government and what it means to be a citizen.

Citizenship (loud, booming voice from the path): Good day, young patriot!

Narrator: Four-H'er started and peered up form his scroll to behold an aged man with an enormous top hat and a bony finger stretched out toward him.

Citizenship: My name is citizenship, and I govern this stretch of the clover path. What know you of government?

4-H'er (pondering): I recall to mind, sir, my time in Raleigh at the Youth Legislative Assembly. In March youth from all over our great state gathered to discuss bills in committee, listen to the advice of political experts, and vote on those issues in general assembly. It was good to know that actual State House Representatives and Senators would consider our bills. Someone important would care about our work. What would it be like to be one of the State House Representatives or Senators and know that only a small percentage of North Carolinians cared enough to vote on the day of Elections? I learned much from this experience.

Citizenship: You learned that it is important to participate in the political process.

4-H'er: I learned this also from voting in our elections for the first time, from speaking at the Town Meeting of State 4-H Congress, and from presenting my speech, My Voice in Our Democracy, from the VFW contest.

Citizenship: Good then, I will let you pass through my political district. Stay on the narrow path. Turn not to the right or to the left. The name of this path is Extension; for verily it extends to all who would desire its knowledge. Turn not back toward your own house, but continue to the peak of a distant mountain called Revelation.

Narrator: The good 4-Her did not turn back but went on. At length when he came to the mountain of Revelation he did not turn aside but labored to the top where he stopped and stood. A light zephyr cooled him as his eyes arose to behold the valley below and the bright green clover path, which would toward the mountain. A distant and soft voice was heard as if carried by the breeze.

Breeze: To make the best better has been your cause. Look below and observe what Leadership, Service, Communication, and Citizenship have done to aid this endeavor. They have been a free gift for you to grasp. Consider those who have trodden this path before, and remember always those that come after and the legacy that you must leave them.

4-H'ers thoughts: At this word, I saw my house, a tiny blot below, and small club members weaving down the path to this dwelling, each with his or her own light of candle.

Narrator: Four-H'er broke form his rest, unwilling to rest on his laurels, and hastened back to Hospitality to greet his guests. As he quickened his steps toward his house the voice could be heard once more:

Breeze:
    Remember when your travel's done,
    To give the gifts you rightly owe,
    This open door can no man shut;
    For many seeds are left to sew.

This is modified from the original written by Vance Whitaker from Forsyth County and used as the 4-H story for his Cumulative Record in Communication. We hope that you find this interesting and hope you may choose to use this during 4-H Sunday or at some other time when a skit about 4-H may be appropriate.
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Last updated Nov 11, 2004


August 2, 2014


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