Svea Jorgenson presents Troy 4-H Member, Emma Johnson, with the Little Chief Award at the 2020 County Fair. Each year, a student who exemplifies living by example through citizenship, community service and leadership is honored with the award based on a personal essay and letters of recommendation from community members submitted.
By Stacy Bender
“I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world.” This is the 4-H Pledge.
National 4-H week begins this Friday, October 4. Both the South 40 4-H Club of Libby and the Kootenai Kids and Critters 4-H Club of Troy have excitedly been preparing to share with their communities more on how to become involved in the local youth opportunities offered. Displays for each club will be up this next week for families to peruse at Homesteaders Ranch & Feed Supply in Libby and the Trojan Lanes Bowling Alley in Troy.
4-H has been fostering innovative and experimental thinking in youth by connecting public school education to country life for nearly 120 years. Beginning with a small after-school youth program formed in 1902 in Clark County, Ohio and focused on agriculture, today 4-H has expanded immensely. s Its programs now serve youth in rural, urban, and suburban communities across every state in the nation where young minds can now be found tackling some of the nation’s top issues including global food security, climate change, sustainable energy, childhood obesity, and food safety.
Here in Montana, 4-H is the largest out-of-school youth development program in the state with nearly 20,000 youth members registered across all 56 counties. It is a program rich in diversity with over 200 hands-on projects designed to offer young people learning experiences which foster leadership, strong citizenship, and life skills. Expressive arts, domestic crafts and skillsets, raising animals, exploring and managing natural resources – all these projects and more have been pursued right here in Lincoln County through both the Libby and Troy programs.
“I joined 4-H when I was five years-old because I thought that the finger painting that they were doing was the absolute coolest thing,” wrote Emma Johnson, 4-H member and Senior at Troy High School, in a letter this past year describing her experience.
“I would like to say that I am proud of where I have ended up, as I was shy and quiet but always caring about other’s thoughts. Through the 4-H programs I was in and learning what it really meant to be a part of the community, I found my voice and an ability to speak and care for others. I learned that helping people and doing small things in life to see them smile and make their day a little better was the best feeling anyone can have,” she went on in her letter towards earning the 2020 Little Chief Award at this year’s County Fair.
Emma’s journey was fostered through a series of 4-H projects designed for all youth to explore their interests, develop goals, and master practical skillsets while empowering them to grow into proactive students of life and strong leaders in their communities. Like so many within the program, Emma has developed a level of self-awareness that has enabled her to identify and celebrate her strengths, challenge her fears, and discover the worth in sharing the journey with others.
“I learned that public speaking isn’t so bad after all and meeting new people and going out of your comfort zone is ok. Sometimes those new people become some of your absolute closest friends and you don’t want to miss out on that,” she further wrote, after describing how she and those friends had found a closer bond while collectively serving their community in recent times – volunteering at local basic needs stores, distributing food through agricultural relief programs, and partnering with the high school business class to reach back and support the local food pantry.
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LHS junior athletes brings “Red, White, & Blue” to Homecoming Festivities
By Stacy Bender
As the spirit schedule for Libby High School’s Homecoming Week was unveiled this year, LHS Junior, Ryder Davis, Jr., had shared with his family that he sure wished there had been a “Red, White, and Blue Day” included in the calendar.
Rooted in regular conversations which have transpired between he and his family regarding national headlines, Ryder’s wish was swiftly up for creative consideration on how to potentially work with his school and embrace his wish.
“There is so much confusion, hurt, and worry in the world right now,” shared Kerry Hayden, Ryder’s mom. “We openly discuss what’s happening in the news here at home. And we also talk a lot about how blessed we are to be Americans and live in such a loving community.”
One topic which recently discussed in their home recently has been the number of protests transpiring as the National Anthem is played on various athletic stages across the country. Logically considering Ryder’s homecoming wish and those current affairs weighing-in collectively on his family’s minds, an active idea for Homecoming week was hatched.
Ryder contacted his Logger teammates and coaches to see if they would be interested and open to creating a memorable kick-off for their Friday night game. Meanwhile, Ryder’s mom contacted the local VFW Post #1548 of Libby to see if perhaps they would be willing to help the team in pulling off a large-scale moment of Patriotism as the National Anthem was played.
Without hesitation, everyone obliged and Logger Stadium came alive on September 25 as a parade of 28 Logger athletes, each waving an American Flag, circled their goal post and came to attention at center field while the Logger Pep Band then played the “Star Spangled Banner.”
“I could not be more proud of Ryder and his teammates,” said Hayden of the moment. “They are amazing kids, and while they may not always see eye to eye, in that moment they came together to create a unfied example of respect for their community and country. It was incredible.” Ryder himself reported feeling grateful to have had the support of his teammates, school, and community. “Pretty much everyone I’ve talked to thought it was a special moment,” he shared then added, “We haven’t spefically talked about it yet. But at least while I am playing football, my teammates and I would like it to become an ongoing thing.”
#5, Ryder Davis, Jr, is caught in a stillframe from the video his mother, Kerry Hayden, captured on Friday, September 25, as the Libby Loggers took to the football field with a display of 28 American Flags later held at attention during the evening’s presentation of the National Anthem. The Loggers would later defeat the Polson Pirates 42-6 in the Homecoming match-up.
Logger Homecoming Parade and
On Thursday, September 24 the 2020 Logger Homecoming Parade and Lumberjack Games were held. Photos by Stacy Bender, The Montanian.