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4-H event raises money for year

By BY JENNIFER PREYSS - JLPREYSS@VICAD.COM
Sept. 18, 2011 at 4:18 a.m.

Scott Perry, right, 47, recognizes a bid at the auction held for the 4-H Harvest of Fun fundraiser on Sunday afternoon. Perry has been involved with auctions for more than 12 years.

At the Victoria Community Center Sunday, 4-H Ambassador Lauren Heller held out a pink and black rock-and-roll tote bag, and modeled the contents for an audience of about 300.

The bag was one of 56 items auctioneer Mike Wuensche speedily auctioned off at the 4-H Harvest of Fun fundraiser. The annual fundraiser, which has been held at the community center for the past 20 years, raised $24,500 for the coming year.

"All the money we raise today goes to support Victoria County 4-H programs," Extension Agent Sam Womble said. "We use the money for training and education programs."

Funds generated from Harvest of Fun also assist members like Lauren achieve scholarship goals for college, while building team leading and life skills, Womble said.

Lauren has benefited from the festival by learning leadership skills.

"I was very shy when I first started 4-H. Now, I'm a team leader with the goats. I've helped seven people so far with their goat projects. I've really become a more social person through it," the 17-year-old said. "I'm realizing now, filling out college applications, that 4-H is really a major part."

Lauren has been active in the Rough Riders 4-H Club for nine years. She now serves as an ambassador, and received the 2011 Gold Star Award recipient for leadership, community service and personal growth at Sunday's fundraiser.

Breana Tater and Meghan Wied also received Gold Star Awards, the highest award a member can receive.

Adult 4-H leader Kirby Garrett, who served as the Harvest of Fun meal coordinator, said the event is a great way to support 4-H kids.

"We're trying to develop leaders of tomorrow and develop their citizenship skills and leadership skills. And 4-H is a vital aspect of that because they learn how to interact with kids and lead their own peers and different activities," Garrett said. "That's our main goal, to develop good citizens, good leaders."

Womble said Harvest of Fun raises about $25,000 to $30,000 annually, primarily from live auction items and meal plates.

"We'll raise about $8,000 to $10,000 just on the live auction," Womble said.

More than 200 volunteers donated their time and services to the fundraiser, preparing 1,400 barbecue meals and selling tickets for the cake walk, Jenny Jump, archery, dunk tank and other games for children. Baked goods and auction items from individuals and area businesses were also donated to help Victoria County 4-H reach its fundraising goal.

"What people don't realize about 4-H is that you can jump in at any time and be active as much or as little as you want to be," Garrett said. "What we want to teach these kids is basic life skills ... and this event helps us do that."

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