Dairy Excel: Spirit of hope lives in the inspiration of volunteers, faces of farm youth


Years ago, a little girl by the name of Virginia, posed a rather simplistic question that has lived on far beyond anyone’s expectations. Perhaps you could read it one more time and find the same meaning that I will now speak of.

It was not so much that her inquiry of whether Santa existed was unusual, but the response from a sincere news reporter is one that has stood the test of time. Although his words received little attention in 1897, we have since learned to value his carefully chosen words.

The unsigned editorial of Frances Church addressed the skeptics of the world when he assured Virginia there was indeed a Santa Claus.

Another reporter of our life and times, Susan Crowell, has crafted words for Farm and Dairy that have also responded to the skeptics who cannot imagine the future of agriculture and the dairy industry. Just like Virginia, I have found a sense of inspiration in how she addresses the inquiries!

There is hope

As the season moves onward and a new year is upon us, my role as an educator bids me to assure young and old alike to tell readers there is a Santa Claus spirit that abides in those whose lives cross with mine.

To the next generation of leaders, I would remind you of a sleigh driven by tireless volunteers and those contributors who fill the bags with tools, not toys. Those presents could possibly be labeled energy, enthusiasm, endurance, and last, but not least, education. Crafted by mentors and believers, they are wrapped up with instructions that are both gifted and earned.

To all of the 4-H dairy volunteers, parents, and donors, I would encourage you to share your stories and knowledge with youth who can hardly wait to grow up overnight.

Even when the reality of business and economics provides challenges, there is magic in the lessons that adversity can teach.

There is a Santa Claus as sure as love, generosity, and devotion exist and it often comes in the shape of a 4 leaf clover in a color that goes quite well with the season!

Although Santa drives a sleigh guided by reindeer, there are other four-legged creatures who take us around the world. Cows can and do lead us to experiences and broaden our scope of thinking. They can encourage us to think beyond ourselves, to analyze all parts and processes about the bovine species, and they teach us life’s invaluable lessons of how to care for each other.

The title of the dairy program’s stand-up poster, “Kids and Cows…A Growing Experience,” captures the many faces of our youth and their involvement with cows. If you have not seen this, it can be found at www.4hansci.osu.edu/dairy on the opening page.

Although the photos display youth in action, it also makes us feel positive about the untold stories of personal success.

What I believe in

As that news reporter reminded Virginia, there is nothing quite as real and abiding as believing in the unforeseen. Captured in my mind are those memories of each dairy event held in 2011. It all begins and ends with the teachable moments.

My memories include a little, curly headed girl happily clipping a heifer at Dairy Palooza, or the boy who can hardly contain his success when giving a great set of reasons.

The sense of pride when I watch dairy judging teams take to the tanbark, the pleasure when kids stop by to visit, and the faces that stare back at me with such trust. It is the surprise of a phenomenal attendance at Palooza and those who were brave enough to believe in something unforeseen.

I could go on and on with these priceless moments. Santa does not visit once a year, but every day, in the lives and hearts of those who give to the program.

Alas, how dreary the world would be without those who define the spirit of Santa Claus as it relates to the 4-H dairy program and may it continue a thousand years from now.

Perhaps you will recall my final words as the deadline approaches (within sight), Merry Christmas to all and to all a good year made glad with the joy of learning and teaching.

Get our Top Stories in Your Inbox

Next step: Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.