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4-H volunteer goes the extra mile

By Martha Bush

The Orange Leader

If I am asked to do something, I feel that there must be a need for it, so I do it,” Becky Hutchison, a volunteer with the Orange County 4-H Club, said.

Wearing many hats and often times multitasking, a list of duties Hutchison performs throughout any given month includes:

Vice President of Adult Leader Organization

Committee Member on Family Consumer Science

Manager of Dusty Trails Club

Adult Leader of Non Riders Horse Club

Assist the 4-H Agent, Christina Ritter, in teaching classes on horses

Emails club members, reminding them of upcoming events

Involved in numerous workshops

After giving a description of her own personal duties, which cumulates in untold hours each month, Hutchison was eager to talk about the many opportunities available to kids between the ages of 8-18 who join 4-H.

“4-H is not just about livestock, and it bothers me to know that people sometimes think that way,” Hutchison said. “We do have programs to learn more about animals, but we are involved in so much more.”

For example, Hutchison demonstrated how she prepares “paper worksheets” to help teach the basics of sewing. From these worksheets, in a short period of time, the child is able to make his/her own garment. Along with sewing, classes are offered in public speaking, food and nutrition, record keeping and photography, to name a few.

Hutchison is especially proud of the community service projects the kids engage in throughout Orange.

At Christmas time, they delighted the residents in the nursing home with a visit, and most recently, as winter set in around Orange, left scarves, hats and gloves along major streets with a note attached stating, ‘I’m not lost. If you need this to stay warm, then please take it. It is yours.’

While enrolled in classes of their choice, Hutchison feels that not only can a child learn a skill, but their emotional and social development will also be enhanced, which is a big desire Hutchison has for each child she embraces.

“I have seen children with a learning disability begin to excel in a skill, and I watch as their confidence in themselves and self-esteem improves,” Hutchison said. “My own child is one of those included in this group.”

Hutchison, along with other 4-H volunteers carries out these programs within 5 clubs throughout Orange County. Those clubs are Dusty Trails, Mighty Pirates, Clay Busters, Boots and Bridle, All Hearts.

A joyful, easy-to-talk-with lady of fifty-five, Hutchison, not only takes much pride in her role as a 4-H volunteer, but in the members of her own household, which consists of her husband, Ron, of 23 years, her fourteen-year-old adopted daughter, Sierra, whom she home schools, as well as being a “Rodeo Mom” to her.

“Ron and I shared duties and participated in 11 rodeos last year with Sierra. We actually base our schedule around rodeo events,” she pointed out.

Also living in the home is Hutchison’s aging mother, for whom she is a caretaker, as well as a niece she raised after the death of her parents, and her niece’s child, who refers to her and Ron as “Nana and Popa.”

Laughing, Hutchison then makes mention of all those living outside of her home that she cares for, which includes 7 chickens, 2 horses, 5 rabbits.

She points out with pride, “The chickens are my daughter’s business. Ron and I are trying to prepare Sierra to run her own business in the future.”

When Hutchison was asked how she fits all her 4-H activities into a personal life that is already seemingly filled to capacity, she responded with tears in her eyes a heartfelt message: “I know where I am needed. I know my calling. My calling is to give to children.”

“God didn’t give me biological children, but He gave me children to volunteer my time and services. I love kids. I want to give children opportunities that will prepare them to be prosperous adults, and I want them to have fun while learning. I was led here, not just because my daughter wanted to get involved in 4-H, but because God gave me many children to serve. In return, they are giving me more than I am giving them,” Hutchison said. “I often wonder why God didn’t give me children of my own, but He blessed me in a different way, and I have had plenty of children in my life; first as a foster parent, then in raising my niece after the death of her parents, adopting Sierra, and now as a volunteer to many children in 4-H. It is not about me. It is about what God has given to me.”

For more information on how your child might become a member of a 4-H, as well as how you might become a volunteer, call 409-882-7010. Or you may look for them on Facebook and on the internet at Texas A & M AgriLife Extension-Orange County.