My hands to larger service

Saturday, December 30, 2017
Local 4-Hers Kaleigh Byram and Mason Forkner and their families spend Friday morning distributing donated scarves, gloves and hats around the Square.
Gabe Franklin

The third line of the 4-H pledge reads, “My hands to larger service.” For 16-year-old 4-Her Kaleigh Byram and 12-year-old Mason Forkner, the words of the 4-H pledge are more than just the opening of a club meeting, they are words to live by.

For the third winter now, Kaleigh and Mason have teamed up to collect winter hats, scarves and gloves for those in need. Some are tied to light poles around the Square for people to take and some are donated to organizations like Community Outreach.

“It’s just a good way to give back to the community,” Kaleigh said.

A tag on a scarf hanging on the Square explains its purpose for anyone who would like to take one.
Gabe Franklin

“There’s a lot of people that need those,” Mason said. “Especially on cold days like this. There are a lot of people that need scarves and hats to keep them warm.”

Kaleigh and Mason, their moms Megan and Ashley, and Mason’s little brother Rhett met in the courthouse outside the Extension office early Friday morning. They brought five large bags overflowing with knit hats, scarves and gloves.

“A lady crocheted 50 hats and gave them to our uncle (Doug Shupe),” Kaleigh said. “We didn’t get her name, but we would really like to say thank you. We might be the ones hanging them up but it’s really the people who donated them that are helping out a lot.”

They did not have an exact number of donated items this year, but the total was easily more than last winter’s project.

“We got a lot of donations this year,” Kaleigh said.

She said that in addition to the smaller donations, another family donated a huge box of gloves, hats and scarves.

Kaleigh explained this begin as a leadership project in early 2016.

“We were wanting to give back to the community a little more,” she said.

Mason explained they got their inspiration from a Facebook post by a cousin in Oklahoma.

“Their church had done something similar and we thought it would be a good leadership project,” Kaleigh said.

“It just kind of escalated from there, we get more and more donations every year,” Mason explained. “It’s not just a leadership project.”

The hat, gloves and scarves that didn’t make it to a light pole or sign post around the Square were donated to Community Outreach to be handed out to those in need.

“I think we’re going to do this as long as we can,” Kaleigh said.

In addition to this leadership project, she is an officer on the county 4-H executive board and shows pigs. Mason shows pigs and goats.

“It’s taught us a lot,” Mason said of 4-H.

Kaleigh said 4-H had taught her about responsibility.

“I think 4-H really revolves around community, and a lot of 4-H is doing things for other people,” she said.

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