Family’s lives intertwined with many 4-H activities
4-H helps children mature and develop
For the Buddish family, participating in 4-H is not as much about the animals as it is about being a family.
To say their lives revolve around the Friendship Valley 4-H program might be a stretch.
Still, the lives and schedules of the entire family father Randy, mother Debra, daughters Lauran, 19, and Anna, 8, and sons Zack, 15, and Abe, 5 are intertwined with their numerous 4-H activities.
"It's something a whole family can do," Debra said. "From the big kids on down, it's not bring them and do your own thing, the whole family can be involved."
In his experience, Randy said 4-H has never been solely about raising livestock.
"It's the kids. It's helped them grow and mature and develop," Randy said. "It teaches the kids responsibility and organization."
Randy said he enjoys helping his children with projects when needed.
"You don't do it for them, you do it with them," Randy said.
Debra also said many people wrongly believe the only 4-H activities are raising cows, pigs and other farm animals.
"You don't have to have a big animal to do 4-H," Debra said. "Just like you don't have to live in the country to have cows."
Lauran, who is a past president of the 4-H club and a past president of the county council, said participating in 4-H helped prepare her for college, even with the process of filling out scholarship applications.
"I received confidence and responsibility that came with being prepared for different projects and helping other people with those projects," Lauran said.
Zack has also been involved with several aspects of 4-H, including the county council, state dog action team and acting as treasurer for the Friendship Valley club. He said he likes the excitement of competing in different events at the Leavenworth County Fair and other smaller events.
"I like working with my dog and the various other projects," Zack said.
With so many activities going on, the Leavenworth County Fair is the culmination of a lot of work throughout the year for the family.
"Around fair time, you're always busy," Zack said.
Abe is still too young to be involved in the regular 4-H program, but takes part in mini-4-H, caring for rabbits, chickens, dogs and especially the garden, his mother said.
"He wants to pick everything," Debra said. "He says, 'Mom, let's see if this is ready.'"
For her part, Anna enjoys taking care of chickens, rabbits and cats, as well as sewing.
Although no longer in 4-H, Lauran said she enjoyed participating in the program at various levels, and she is not sure what she would have spent her time doing otherwise.
"It's been my life," Lauran said. "I have no idea."
Although Randy and Debra spend much of their time shuttling their children to meetings and other 4-H events each week, both said it is worth the effort.
One of the nice things about 4-H is that children can decide for themselves how much they want to participate, Debra said.
"You can do as little or as much as you want," she said.