PHC Resident Recalls Early Days in 4H

Head, Heart, Hands, and Health are the four Hs in 4-H, and are four values important in everyday life for 4-H’ers both young and young at heart.

When asked about his days as a 4-H’er, Don Camp, 81, stressed how much different 4-H is today compared to the fairs he participated in starting at the young age of 15 and at the same time he also strongly encourages all kids to join 4-H and learn the 4 H’s of life.

“It was a lot different back then,” explains the former Ft. Sumpter 4-H’er as he looked over the schedule for the 2016 Edgar County 4-H Fair set to get underway on July 22.

Don, a resident at the Paris Healthcare Center, is a friend to many. He always has a smile to share and can be heard down the PHC halls sharing stories with life-long friends or new acquaintances.

Don eagerly agreed to tell his story of past 4-H Fairs and showing swine and cattle, during the hot July days in the late 40s and 50s. He fondly recalled the name of his 4-H leader – Lee Hamilton.

"There was one tent when I started showing. We didn’t have a barn,” he recalls. “It grew to several tents when the current property was donated, in the late 40s or early 50s but it was still hot.

”Moving from the bottom of the hill on property owned by the Edgar County Fair to the top of the hill on the new 4-H Fairgrounds meant there was much more room for more tents and the 4-H’ers would either sleep with the animals or sleep in a truck during fair week.

Don and his younger brother showed swine and cattle both.

“Us boys took care of our own livestock,” he said proudly. “Nobody ever helped us.

”He also explained that they never sold their livestock at the auction. “We always took them home with us after the 4-H Fair,” Don also noted, “We couldn’t afford to spend a lot of money on them.

” Camp shared the story of a fellow 4-H’er showing his steer in the tent and when the young man passed out from the heat.

“I remember telling his dad that he didn’t look right. I said, ‘ I think Jim is going to pass out’ and the next thing we knew we went down. His dad grabbed the steer and I picked Jim up and took him under a shade tree and got his revived,” Don explained.

He also remembers washing his cattle and there always being a water fight between the 4-H’ers. It was a good way to cool off Don said with a smile.

Don explained that at one time only the kids that lived in the county could participate in the 4-H. “Back then they didn’t open the fair up to the town kids. It was only for the country kids.

”Camp said at the time when he began showing that the 4-H fair and the EC Fair where separate. The fairs are now held at the same time.

He said the round barn, located at the EC Fairgrounds, as been there as long as he can remember.

Don still likes to stop by the barns during 4-H Fair week and is amazed at how nice the buildings are and how much different it is today compared to his younger years.

Don encourages all kids to get involved in 4-H. “It is a great organization.” He proudly remembered (most) of the pledge.

4-H Pledge

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