I hear many people saying “I can’t believe it is time for Thanksgiving already. Where does the time go?”

I can relate, as I am sure many of you can, too.

Time does seem to go so fast these days. We all are busy and have so many things that require our attention.

Thanksgiving season, for me, brings upon a time for reflection. I look back on the year to see what was accomplished or not, I look back at the times I have been able to have with my family and friends and I look back on all those things I have to be thankful for.

I feel it is important to take a look back once in a while and remind ourselves of the things for which we can be grateful.

I also take a look back at my time spent as Redwood County 4-H program coordinator. Perhaps this is in part because I have a program plan to write and need to look at the goals our 4-H federation has set, so I do my part to help our 4-H federation to realize their goals.

Beyond the goals and tasks which can feel so overwhelming at times I see the greatness of our 4-H programs.

Yes, I said great.

I get to meet and get to know so many wonderful people who are volunteering for 4-H as program leaders, club leaders and committee leaders all to support Redwood County youth experience their 4-H program. We have more than 100 screened volunteers who come together to support our kids – 110. That number is growing. Caring adults providing avenues of connection for our kids – who could ask for more?

When I ask our volunteers why 4-H?, they say, “I do it for the kids, so they can have opportunities and experiences that will last for a lifetime”.

If you want an impactful volunteer experience, 4-H is a great place to share your time.

Let us not forget our 4-H families. I get to meet some really great people. Our 4-H families are dedicated to 4-H programs and youth development.

When I ask why 4-H? the responses are “I do it for the kids, because 4-H is program where kids can be kids, get to know other people, learn about things they are interested in and can do activities without the pressure that so many other things my kids do require. 4-H is a place where our 4-H experience is ours.”

I know of several 4-H families who invite other youth to become 4-H members and mentor those kids along the way taking our individual kids under their wing.

I mean, how great is that?

Then we have our 4-H youth who are truly amazing young people. We have so many kids in our communities who are amazing kids and our 4-H youth are right in there. Talented, thoughtful and community oriented youth are only a few adjectives I would use to describe our 4-Hers. These young people keep our program moving in a forward trajectory by their decisions, sharing their opinions, by learning to work as a team and their evolving work toward mastery in their project area of choice.

4-H is a youth led adult guided program. Adult and youth partnerships are one of the program qualities that make our 4-H program so strong.

How lucky can I be to be working for so many amazing people? I am truly blessed to be part of Redwood County 4-H.

Anyone who has a talent to share or wants to take part in our 4-H program should give us a call at (507) 637-4025 or e-mail skjohnso@umn. edu.

My wish for each of you is that you too can find at least one thing to be grateful for.

Wishing each of you a happy holiday season.

– Stacy Johnson serves as the program coordinator for the Redwood County 4-H program