Friday, July 8, 2011

To My 4-H Family and Supporters

I'm the one in the long sleeve denim, jeans tucked into her boots
with an extremely flustered face - I took feeder calves the next year.
When I was nine my sheep got loose five times in the judging ring. FIVE TIMES in just 15 minutes. Not my most shining moment.....but I never guessed that 4-H would provide much more than a livestock check and memories of me chasing that dang sheep around the ring in front of a packed audience. 

A large part of my foundation began sitting around the Jasper Township Hall making crafts, going to other families home's to learn about livestock, spending time with friends at camps, working on our club's talent show plays and ultimately building life skills and developing relationships that I still hold very close today. 

Our club performed the Big Bad Wolf for the
county 4-H talent show. I'm in the black and pink dress and
super cute permed hair :)
Seven years ago, when the job opened up for my home county's 4-H agent position, I knew it was the exact job for me. I have had the honor of working with some amazing young men and women of Gratiot County. Amazing doesn't do justice to what these youth can do - they have inspired me, made me laugh, challenged me to take programs to the next level, taught me how to just sit back, relax and enjoy life - yeah they're that cool and I care so much about them.....

And my leaders, who have been through seven years of my wild, crazy ideas - thank you. Thank you for believing in them, not looking at me crazy when I shared them (at least not in front of me :)!),  helping me work through them and among it all....becoming some of my closest friends. 

Our family at Gauger's first Gratiot County Fair for Youth -
he's the one passed out in my carrier :)
Together we have built a strong foundation for our youth and I know you will all continue developing the incredible young men and women we have iGratiot County. On a personal note, you've been with me through some major life changing events including my wedding and the births of my two boys. My son Gunner will probably always walk around the fairgrounds like he owns it and both have enjoyed spending time playing with and learning from their 4-H family. Thank you for having such a positive impacted on my family and I. We will always be grateful.

So saying all this....many have heard, but I wanted to make the announcement....

Recently, I accepted a position with Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan as a multi-lines insurance agent. My last day as the GC 4-H Educator is Sunday, July 31 and I will begin my new position on Monday, August 1 in St. Louis at the Reichard Insurance Agency. To clarify, Monte Reichard didn't hire me, he's serving as my mentor. We are both employees of Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan. He was gracious enough to open up office space and offer his resources and experience to help me get started. 

MSU Extension is currently working on what our county's transition, so I do not have a timeline of what it will look like. For now, many of the pieces will be picked up by the local office - whom which, our program would never have been as successful as it has become and I will always owe them for the many times they've stepped up to the plate to help with whatever was going on in 4-H land. I'm confident you will continue to receive the quality response and resources you need as MSUE moves forward in hiring someone.

And though I'm extremely excited about taking this new career path, Gratiot County 4-H is my home and I will continue to be a resource, volunteer and supporter. Thank you for allowing me to consider you all family. I have  grown and been motivated by each of you. And so much more importantly, together we've built one AWESOME youth program for this county.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sweet Summer Time

Daddy got the jeep running - Who looks the happiest!? :)
This weekend I did something I haven't in a long time. I put my phone away, closed my computer lid and literally laid by the pool and lake all day for three days.

Baby Emma enjoying the pool in style.
I don't remember the last time I've went more than an hour not checking my email, responding to a FB message or seeing what's happening on Twitter. I felt like my in-home tether was lifted and I simply enjoyed face to face conversations without sharing my thoughts or feelings through acronyms and emoticons. 

Did I miss an opportunity to catch up on photo editing? Yes. Could I have become more comfortable using Twitter. Sure. I probably should have even answered emails in a much more timely fashion. 

Fishing with Uncle Teddy and Mason.

But I would have missed splashing around in the pool with my boys, niece and nephew. My eyes wouldn't have seen a beautiful fireworks show on Lake Isabella. Squishing my toes in the sand wouldn't have been as childlike if I was connected to my Blackberry rather than my four year's hand. And finding Gauger dirty
 from head to toe with sand in every crevice wouldn't have been so funny if I had spent my morning 
reading blogs instead of getting dirty right next to him.

Jesse and Gauge with our nephew Mason
and his Uncle Eric.

I needed a couple days to shut down the technology to remind myself that social media can only bring you so far. It will never make the level of impact riding with the jeep top off, tasting a juicy brat with all the fixings, laughing hard with friends and family or hear the loud boom of an actual fireworks show. 

Here's to many more weekends of cutting the cords and enjoying people, places and objects the way they should be - in person!