Remember how I mentioned a fun project Alex and I were working on together? That project was spearheading a collaborative event between ULM Athletics and 4-H in the Northeast Region. Behold...an Agricultural/4-H Night and Tailgate at ULM!
Now, before I go too far, I should say this idea is definitely not original. LSU has been hosting a "4-H Night with the Tigers and Tailgate" for the last several years (I think it began in my junior year of high school, so... 10 years ago?). This event started small but has exploded over the years, and for good reason. LSU is one of the land grant colleges in LA (ULM is not), and there are a whole heck of a lot more Tigers fans than Warhawks out there. So, why ULM?
Well, the most obvious reason here is that Alex works for ULM and I work for the LSU AgCenter (4-H). But deeper than that was an idea I had to create something 4-H in Northeast Louisiana could really be proud of. Often times, 4-H in north Louisiana is the considered the redheaded stepchild of wildly popular and involved programs from the southern part of the state. In fact, I'll be the first to admit I've been on the other side of that coin. On this end, though, it's understandable that the poorest parishes (counties) in the nation just cannot drum up resources or participation to support a five-hour drive to many of those big time events such as the Tiger Tailgate in Baton Rouge.
But people here in north Louisiana are just as wild about their football as anyone else (or even more, sometimes). [Prime example: Schools in my parish here are closed on Friday because the high school's football team is in the first round of state playoffs. Yes, seriously.] To collaborate with ULM in hosting a 4-H Night and Tailgate seemed like a win-win situation for everyone. Let me present to you, an A-MAZING flyer designed by my lovely and talented husband, Alex:
|You might have to click the photo to read the text.|
Once we got all the parishes on board, everyone chipped in to gather supplies, games, give-aways, and other fun items for this event. I was super impressed to see how well we were able to pull it all together in such a short time frame. Oh, did I mention the plans for this event started just 3 weeks out!?
|Search "#4H4WARHAWKS" to see a few submissions from the contest.|
Mainly, I served as one of the liasons between the two groups, a task I gladly accepted considering, Alex was the primary ULM contact for the event. It definitely made things easier on getting speedy responses from both sides of the spectrum. Plus, we really enjoyed working together and collaborating on this project was something special. I also took the lead on the Instagram contest, which was designed to be an avenue for distributing give-aways.
Day of the event - I spent the morning in Bastrop coordinating a small group of my Jr. Leaders who were scheduled to volunteer at a local food pantry. On the way there, I noticed the skies were unusually overcast, and it even sprinkled for a bit. I thought, "oh no, please, no rain..." But, all week the forecasts called for sunny mid-60s, so what was going on?
I don't know what happened, but Mother Nature surprised us all (even the weathermen). A torrential downpour moved in over the region and sat there for most of the day. With it came cold temperatures and wind - definitely a miserable combination for tailgating.
|Everyone huddled under our expanded tent set-up, taking shelter from the rain. If you look closely, you'll see the underside of one tent is printed with LSU graphics - a biiiig no-no in Monroe.|
|When the rain slacked for a bit, we did see some kid traffic at our "backyard bass" game.|
There were also some major issues on the part of ULM and following through with their commitments. I won't say too much (ask me if you like) but Alex was nearly out of his skin in frustration with his coworkers, and the poor guy took the brunt of it as the primary contact with the 4-H group. Thankfully, I think most of the other 4-H agents realized he went above and beyond to pick up the slack from everyone else.
All in all, this event really does have some major potential for our region, and even for the state. A "come to Jesus" meeting is necessary with ULM, but the 4-H committee is already making notes for planning next year's event. I'm glad they didn't write it off after the failure of this first time. Hopefully, we'll be able to revisit everything and start fresh with plenty of time to get it right in 2014.
Here's to hoping for better luck next time,