Monday, January 3, 2011

A Real Nice Problem to Have

Tell me, is it all that bad?
Sounds to me like a real nice problem to have.
--Aaron Tippin

A few years ago, Barb and I became leaders of the Altoona Hustling Herdsmen 4H club. It's one of the oldest clubs in Polk County, and it was my  club when I was a 4H member. Both of my sisters and I served a president of the Hustling Herdsmen during our 4H stints, and now my daughter Brett hold that office. My parents and my sister Susan served as leaders of the club prior to Barb and me.

When we took over as leaders, the Hustling Herdsmen consisted of around 20 members, most of whom were farm kids with livestock projects. We are now in our seventh year as leaders, and with the two new members who started tonight, we have 55 4Hers in the club.

The club is also far more diverse than it was seven years ago. We are still strong in livestock, with members who show swine, cattle, sheep, horses, poultry, rabbits and goats. However, our rural contingent is now less than half of our membership, and the majority of our members live inside the city limits of Altoona and Pleasant Hill. These numbers and diversity bring with them challenges. Those 55 members have signed up for 34 different project areas, ranging from the above-mentioned livestock projects to interests ranging from food and nutrition to shooting sports. (Speaking of shooting, our most popular project area is photography, with 34 members expressing interest in it.)

So here we are, four meetings into our 4H year, with members (and at least one leader) still trying to learn everyone's names, and I'm going to spend a good amount of time in the next month lining up adult volunteers in as many of those 34 project areas as possible with members who will hopefully take the opportunity to benefit from an adult mentor's expertise when they are thinking about and working on their projects for this summer's fair. As my dad told me many, many times before Aaron Tippin ever sang it, that is a real nice problem to have.


  1. That is a great problem to have! My sister started the 4H club for our community, and it's grown to be fairly large as well. That photography seems to be quite popular!


  2. It is Marshall Co. The Rhodes Ravens!