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Community shows support at 4-H Harvest of Fun

By KBell
Sept. 19, 2010 at 4:19 a.m.

Randy Delgado, 5, tries his hand at roping the head of a plastic steer during the Victoria 4-H 'Harvest of Fun.' The event had activities of skill such as roping and archery, as well as ones just for fun, such as hunting for candy to help raise money for the organization during Sunday's event at the Victoria Community Center.

About Victoria County 4-H:

More than 600 youth ages 8 to 18 participate

More than 140 volunteers support the program

Reaches more than 3,500 youth in outreach programs

Granted more than $80,000 in scholarship money to 4-H youth last year

Dozens of cars lined up outside the community center on a rainy Sunday afternoon to pick up to-go brisket from the annual 4-H Harvest of Fun fundraiser.

But the real fun was inside.

Adults browsed through tables of auction items while kids ran to and from endless activities - from a petting zoo to archery and a dunking booth to a bounce house.

The 22nd year of the fundraiser was the biggest yet, with twice as many games and 100 pounds more meat than last year's, said Sarah D. Brandes, county extension agent for 4-H and youth development.

"The community support has been phenomenal," Brandes said. "With the economy in a recession, you don't always expect that."

Victoria county 4-H members and their families had been cooking through the rain for the previous 24 hours, Brandes added.

"When people spend that much time on a meal - the love they put into it - it doesn't get much better."

Kenneth Easley, who was watching over a large pot of beans in the arena, said he participates in the fundraiser every year in support of his 8- and 11-year-old kids who are 4-H members.

Easley was also a member of 4-H.

"It's a good thing for kids," he said of the 4-H program. "And (the fundraiser) says we have a community that supports young people."

Sixteen-year-old Allison Williams said she's been coming to the Harvest of Fun since the third grade. She was a 4-H ambassador this year, meaning she labored the last few months to gather donations for the event.

"After it's all said and done, it's a great relief because you see the smiles on everybody's faces," Williams said. "You see your hard work paid off."

Williams added she was pleased with how the community was supporting the 4-H program, which she said has taught her leadership.

Brandes agreed.

"Working with kids day in and day out, I clearly see these our are community's future leaders," Brandes said. "I'm glad the community recognizes the value of the kids year after year, too."

Proceeds from the fundraiser pay for scholarships and 4-H activities for the year.

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