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4-H a trend-setter in gender equality

By Staff | Jun 18, 2012

It wasn’t that terribly so many years ago when welding may have been a skill that 4-H leaders taught young men while girls learned canning and sewing.

Fortunately, times have changed.

This past Saturday, Gary Myers, 4-H leader for the Center Champions, showed an even mix of boys and girls how to weld. Some of the girls – to clarify that they were still girls – were welding candle holders shaped like hearts. One, Scarlett Rose, was welding a collapsible sawhorse.

First emphasizing safety, Myers showed the young people how to go about it the right way. Safety first, fun second, he said.

And they did a great job, learning a skill that they’ll be able to use through the rest of their lives.

This is a refreshing change from the way things used to be. Granted, both boys and girls have always shown animals. But programs like 4-H and FFA tended to segregate boys and girls more into separate activities. In fact, there was a pretty rigid line between who could belong to FFA and FHA – boys in one and girls in the other.

Teaching girls skills like welding makes them independent, able to fend for themselves in today’s world. And the more independent they are, the more they’re able to make their own choices and determine their own destinies. Beyond that, welding is a skill much in demand right here in our area.

It’s 4-H leaders like Gary Myers who are able to give girls those greater choices, better opportunities to determine their future.

They should be applauded for helping make a different in these young ladies’ lives.

And who knows. Maybe they’ll show us all how to do things a little better.