August 1st, 2008

quinn, by someonecatchme

Q's first 4-H Fair as a participant, how it has gone so far

I think 4-H may be what I think had been missing in Q's life, as Pam and I had decided to forgo Scouting for him1. Miss Frizzlehead, the young hen Q brought to the fair, is just one of the 12 "off-the-shelf" Rhode Island Reds that we purchased from a hatchery as part of the club's overall order. By sheer luck we dodged the virus that hit many birds from that order--there would have been nothing we could have done to overcome that had it hit us, too. However, many other ills can befall a chick, and despite that Q raised all twelve successfully to "young adulthood" and graduation to the coop.2 Upon hearing that a Cloverbud was allowed to bring one--and only one--bird to participate with at the fair, Q selected Frizzlehead based on her seeming particular affinity for him and also because he thought she was one of the biggest, healthiest, and best looking. Yesterday, Q seemed to impress the Judge with his enthusiasm and his eager questions. The Judge also suggested--and backed it up by describing to Q in detail how she was in conformance to the standards--that his chicken would have done very well had Quinn been out of Cloverbuds and eleigible to enter her in competition. I hope I got on video some of LG's mentoring him through his first participation as a Cloverbud. LG is--I think--the eldest of the regular 4-H members. This is her last fair, and I think she is going out in style. Even as busy as she is though, she took Q in hand and showed him some of the etiquette and "rules of the road" for the showmanship competition--things that I am still learning about, and thus am not yet fit to teach. It was really touching and a great example of the sort of youth leadership--both in terms of direction, but also mentorship and setting an example--that were among the best part of my Scouting experiences. Truly, nearly all of the 4-H kids--and adult volunteers and parents, too--seemed to have taken a particular care to make him feel engaged and included. I let him "run with the 4-H crowd" today while I was gallivanting from Purcellville to Sterling and back to Leesburg to pick up the corn donated by Giant and Wegman's. During a "check-in" call and then after I got back to the fairgrounds. This was one of those "it takes a village" moments, as a parent must be chaperoning children according to the fair rules--it doesn't mean you have to be glued to their hip, but you are supposed to be on the grounds. Thankfully a couple of my wonderful fellow parents were willing to take responsibility for him while I was errand-running3; I had several people remark along the lines of how he was talking to people about the chickens and being a "good-will" ambassador for the club. I wonder where he gets that raging extroversion?

Anyway, he has been well-rewarded--in praise and attention, a commodity still precious to most eight-year-olds, but also in tangibles like getting a scoop of ice cream for stints volunteering in the ice cream fund-raising booth, freebies frisbies and other geegaws from the vendors, and of course healthful, balanced fair food meals.4

Oh, shoot...I was supposed to get some sleep so I can work a part-day tomorrow and then go pick up the cooked corn for tomorrow's tonight's Poultry Club Dinner. Good night, gentle readers!

1I am an Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow. Obviously this was not a decision that I made lightly. My stance is based on the BSA board's despicable, bad-faith dealings with the Unitarian Universalist Association [which was, in a sense, the insult-to-injury that followed from their bigoted--and ulitmately self-destructive--stance on homosexual leaders.
2Mom and dad, I'm afraid, did not do as well--we have since lost six to predation! Coop security upgrades in progress.
3I am truly grateful that I have a child that is on the most part well-mannered, obedient, and [generally] eager to please. Were he more difficult, I'm not sure I would be able to get such generous assistance.
4You know: nachos, cheese fries, chicken tenders, lemonade...Reminds me of my days of eating the four fraternity food groups: Beer, Pizza, Ramen, and Chips