A clan-do attitude: Family throws itself into fair
Mom, dad and siblings all deeply involved in 4-H Club
Maybe one more clover leaf for a “helping hand” will be added to the 4-H Club logo someday.
Head, hands, heart, health. Oh, and don’t forget a little help from Mom and Dad, too.
As 4-H members know, the agricultural club is quite the familial affair, with every member pitching in to do his or her part.
Take the Teal family, for example.
Ashley, 12, and Kyle, 13, joined 4-H three years ago and haven’t slowed down since.
Some friends sparked the siblings’ interest in the club, and the two decided to try it out.
The duo started participating in just a few events each, but their number of competitions ballooned to a combined 10 unique events, while both children compete in archery, shotgun and market swine.
With such a tough schedule to juggle, the kids realized they wouldn’t be able to handle it alone.
They found help in the form of Mom and Dad. This year, in addition to buying the pigs, providing funding and being personal chauffeurs to club meetings and practice events, the kids’ parents, Doug and Kristina Teal, stepped up to be activity leaders for events that had vacancies.
Providing extra help was no problem for Kristina, who enjoys spending time with her kids.
“It forms a closer family bond. We’re interested in what they’re doing,” she said. “It’s definitely an all-family project.”
Support for Ashley and Kyle expanded beyond their family, too. When the duo first joined the club, they were pleasantly surprised by the tidbits of advice the other 4-Hers happily offered for various events, including shotgun.
“It’s mostly the senior kids that are helping the younger ones because they’ve been shooting longer, so they’re helping the young ones that haven’t been shooting very long,” Kyle said.
Now that Kyle and Ashley have gotten a little older, they’re the ones doling out advice to their peers.
“For pigs, we go to everybody’s houses and give them ideas about their pigs and what we like about them and what we don’t like about them,” Ashley said.
The constructive criticism was never shunned, she said, adding, “It’s kind of hard to do it just with yourself. You need help.”
Perhaps the largest source of support comes from the other sibling, Ashley said.
“If we have the same projects, we help each other out,” she said.
That doesn’t mean the usual brother-sister dynamic isn’t present. Sibling rivalry still blossoms when the two are competing in the same events.
“Especially in shotgun for trap. There’s a lot of competition because we’re right there next to each other,” Kyle said.
In fact, things can get a little nasty when it gets down to the nitty-gritty.
“I probably talk trash about him sometimes,” Ashley said with a laugh.
The friendly (and not-so-friendly) competition between the two drives both to be better, they said. Each has been to the state competition multiple times for various events.
Ashley has been selected for the state competition for dogs, bread-making and photography. She and Kyle are on the state team for shotgun. During his first state competition, Kyle placed second after tying for first and losing in a shoot-off.
There is more to 4-H than competing and winning, however. Kristina said the club helps her kids develop life skills, such as public speaking and balancing finances. Perhaps most importantly, Ashley and Kyle build relationships with other 4-Hers.
Both kids say they plan to be in the club for as long as they can. And as long as there are pigs to be bought and meetings to attend, Kyle and Ashley will be receiving help from their 4-H family.