Now that June has come and gone, I'm hoping to get back on board with posting a little more often again. Seriously though, June fleeeewww by! When you hear all that transpired, you'll understand.
Alex's mom flew in from North Carolina on (Wednesday) the 5th of June. She planned to stay for a week, but with me leaving on Monday (June 10th), I wasn't around a whole lot during her trip. I also worked on both Thursday (6/6) and Friday (6/7) of that week. We did finally get out and do a little exploring of the Monroe area while she was in town; Alex and I took her to the Chennault Aviation Museum located at the MLU airport, and we also checked out Kiroli Park in West Monroe. Alex tried to take her to a few other sites while I was at work, but she didn't like the idea of attractions with paid admission. In any case, Alex's mom came and went and we went on with the rest of the month...
A photo collage from the aviation museum.
'Betcha didn't know Delta Airlines got its start in Monroe, LA!
As mentioned above, I left for 4-H Camp on June 10th. This was the first time I'd ever been solely responsible for so many children at once - 22 kids, ages 9-12, and two teenagers, total. That's some precious cargo if I've ever seen any! The 25 of us headed down to Camp Grant Walker (CGW) in Pollock, which is "the" 4-H Camp in Louisiana. It's so old that generations of former 4-Hers all have their own stories of 4-H Camp. Thankfully they installed air conditioning systems since I attended as a child, but still it is a camp after all. During my time in Arkansas, I became spoiled with the state-of-the-art facilities at Camp Aldersgate and was not at all excited to spend a week at CGW. However, we all survived the week (I worked with the food & fitness track, archery, and the camp store) and returned in one piece on Friday morning.
The traditional rope burning ceremony at vespers on the final night of camp.
The following week (June 18-21), I took two teenage boys down to Baton Rouge for 4-H University, which is essentially, Louisiana's version of a state convention for 4-H. Delegates compete in over 40 contests, with state winners awarded all-expense paid trips to really awesome places. Some teens choose the non-competitive route and instead take part in 12-hour workshops over the course of two days. 4-H University is, by far, my favorite Louisiana 4-H event. Being from a parish that brings over 100 youth to the event each year, with generally 60% or more of those taking home Top 10 placings in their contests, 4-H U is kind of a big deal in my book. As a 4-H Agent, though, I work in a parish that is VASTLY different than the one back home, and so I was only able to recruit two members to attend. To make matters worse, I could only convince one of them to even compete in a contest! Sheesh, people.
On the bright side, I have some really amazing 4-H Agents back home who were willing to let me tag along with their larger group in hopes of exposing my boys to the greener side of the pasture, if you get my drift. It was also good for me to reacclimate myself to the event (it's been EIGHT years!!) and get some practice with coordinating a larger group. To trade off, the male agent from home agreed to supervise my boys in the dorms while I helped out with toting some of their kids around campus during the day. It was a win-win situation. I really enjoyed being back with my 4-H family, especially those from back home and even the ones in the state office and southwest region since I don't get to see them very much anymore. Events like 4-H U really help me to keep going whenever I feel isolated and like I'm beating a dead horse up here in no-man's-land..
I'm a real, live 4-H Agent, with a purple ribbon tag to show it!
June 24th and 25th was our district horse show event in West Monroe. This year, the district, state, and even southern regional shows will all be held at the same facility, which makes it super nice on those of us in the Northeast region. Going into the show, I was pretty excited about having such a large delegation - of eight, that is - competing in the event. Unfortunately, only four showed up, and the other kids didn't even bother to tell anyone they weren't coming. (This is the kind of people I'm working with, ya'll.) My assignment for the show was to help with the non-riding events, so I got to judge the demonstrations with a fellow new agent from a neighboring parish. All of my kids competed on the second day of the show, so I grabbed myself a seat at the official announcer's/timekeeper's/recorder's table and managed to learn a bit about the "speed events," as they call them. All four of my kids qualified for the state show in each of their events, several of them with strong placings. It will be fun to see how they do at the state show next week.
The boys with their ribbons.
That weekend, the final weekend in June (6/27-30), Alex and I went away to Dallas. Since this entry is so long already, I'll hold onto it for another day. Also as a reminder to myself (and the rest of you, if anyone out there wants to hold me accountable), I still do want to write about our garden and, by that point, my parents' 4th of July weekend visit, as well as our trip to North Carolina, followed by another visit from my parents. Sheezums, it looks like July will zoom by nearly as fast as June did!
Until we meet again,