It’s about that time of year again. No, I’m not referring to Santa Claus and his flying reindeer.

We’re gearing up for the 2019 Guadalupe County Youth Livestock Show — at least at my house. The shelter has been erected; the pens are clean and ready to house some fluffy, white rabbits.

Growing up in North Dallas, I didn’t know much about 4H. We had a FFA program at our school district, but I played sports for most of my life, so I had no knowledge of what this was all about.

My husband and I met in college, and the first time I traveled to San Antonio to meet his parents, I vaguely remember Brian trying to explain to me the world of 4H. I never understood it until our son was finally old enough to participate — something my husband had looked forward to.

I now I have an immense respect for the children, parents and volunteers who make up this wonderful organization.

It goes beyond just the kids showing their animals and receiving a ribbon for where they place out of the entire group.

These young people meet at least once per month and they participate in service programs and fundraising efforts to give back to the community. They build relationships that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, and most importantly they are learning great responsibilities at a young age that will help shape who they become as adults.

One of the most inspiring things to me is how these clubs bring generations back together.

My husband is heavily involved, and he is working alongside members who he grew up with.

It is truly wonderful to see these kids growing up together. My hope is that they continue this legacy.

There are many organizations that were solely created to support these children. They hold benefits and fundraisers throughout the year, and when it’s time for the livestock shows, they are there to support the participants. There is also support from the local businesses, dignitaries and elected officials — regardless if they have a child participating or not. They are there supporting the children of their community. It truly is a moving sight to see all of these people come together to support the children and their futures.

So while a lot of kids are working on their letters to Santa, asking for the newest gadget or game. These kids are working hard to get ready for show season, and they love what they do.

They put great passion into their projects. They work after school, on weekends and any other spare time to make sure that they are ready. It is also a great bonding experience for families to work together to guide their children.

I wish all of the participants the best of luck; I am really looking forward to seeing everyone toward the end of next month. And I thank each and every one of you that supports our youth!

Elizabeth Engelhardt is the general manager of The Seguin Gazette.

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