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Annual Auction Provides for 4-Hers

Published: Friday, January 11, 2019

On the first Saturday of every March, people from around the county flock to the Van Buren Conference Center with plaid shirts, light hearts and enough money to fill their empty trucks. They come from all walks of life; young kids scuttle across the bidding floor, as bearded men browse miscellaneous items spread all along the walls. Before them all stands the quick-speaking captain, who beacon each paddle to wave just one more time, as laughs arise from every corner of the room. What draws these people every year to the same, casual place? It's not just the food, friendship or merchandise that makes the 4-H Leaders Assn. Auction so great. It's the purpose. This year's auction is on March 2, doors open at 9 a.m. and the auction begins at 10 a.m.

The money collected from the auction fuels the organization throughout the year, allowing it to achieve "larger service," as the pledge requires. Much of this service involves education. Auction-money allows the Leaders Assn. to sponsor workshops, camps and other educational events throughout the year.

"I've learned a lot from the local 4-H classes," Sophie Paquin, a 17-year-old 4-H member, states. "They did one on Avian Influenza a few years ago. It really opened my eyes and made me look at how I'm raising my own birds."

Money from the auction also contributes to scholarships, allowing the Leaders Assn. to send older members to special events throughout the country. One of these events is the Citizen Washington Focus, where teens can visit Washington, D.C. for a week, meeting with representatives, touring the capitol and building life skills that they will carry with them forever. The trip, without financial assistance, is simply too expensive for most families. With the help of auction-goers, though, they can usually receive enough aid to attend this life-changing event.

Another large scholarship-event is 4-H Exploration Days, a three-day college experience held at MSU every summer. Supporting the auction means supporting these kids as they grow into active citizens.

Finally, money from the Leaders Assn. auction goes to rewarding commitment in the local 4-H community. After all their hard work, kids deserve ribbons, trophies, medals, or monetary prizes to recognize their success.

In all, the annual 4-H Leaders Assn. auction is very important to people in Van Buren County. It's the primary source that allows the Leaders Assn. to achieve larger service, empowering younger generations. For this reason, the purpose outweighs even the fun associated with this event.

If you are interested in making a donation to the auction contact Janice Zerbe, MSU Extension educator at 269/657-8213.

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