Lakeside Sagebrush 4-H fundraises for future leaders

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Eastbound Bar & Grill, a Lakeside staple, is unusually packed for a rainy Monday night as the community came together to support the local Sagebrush 4-H chapter. A percentage of the proceeds for the night will finance kids trips to national conferences as part of their leadership training within the organization.

Eastbound Bar & Grill, a Lakeside staple, is unusually packed for a rainy Monday night as the community came together to support the local Sagebrush 4-H chapter. A percentage of the proceeds for the night will finance kids trips to national conferences as part of their leadership training within the organization. Sydney Morehouse, a community leader along with Lisa Ferris for the Lakeside chapter, graduated from El Capitan agricultural program and is a fierce advocate for Sagebrush 4-H program designed to teach kids as young as 5 up to 18 years old about livestock, home arts, garden and robotics. “This program is not just about animals as it is often perceived. It is more about teaching leadership skills, the responsibility that comes with raising animals and the lessons they learn along the way.” 

Morehouse points to two young ladies whose job is to greet the customers and answer questions about the program: “ These girls would have never done this interview few years ago if it weren’t for the public speaking they learned through 4-H.” Monica Ferris is 13 years old and going to Lakeside Middle School where she’s also part of the Future Farmers of America (FFA), a program that usually runs in high schools and it’s complementary to the 4-H training, which includes younger kids as well. Ferris was part of the committee that organized the California Youth Summit taking place next weekend and she decided to participate. “I cannot wait to have a new experience and learn more about how to be a leader,” Ferris said. She started the program when she was 5 years old and now is a secretary on the board of officers. Morehouse explains “this is a club for the kids ran by the kids and we have 7 kids on the board with individual jobs. I am their officer mentor guiding them, but they are running it.” Ferris started with raising guinea pigs. “I recently decided to breed them and now I have 20 cavies living in my house and they have their own room. I also started raising pigs few years ago and last year I started with beef. “ Ferris plans to continue at El Capital High School and become part of the FFA program. She graduated from Riverview Elementary and now speaks fluent Spanish. “My goal is to become a veterinarian or just to be in the agricultural business.“

Joining her at the fundraising event is Hayley Attig, 16 years old, from El Cajon, sophomore at El Capitan and now the Vice-president of the organization. She started when she was 5 years old to compete with her brother. “Once I saw my brother in, I decided I need to be better than him and so I joined. I first started with pigmy goats and moved to swine and sheep when I was 9 years old. I recently started my own breeding program and have 15 saws at my mom’s barn in the El Monte Valley where she is a horse trainer.” Attig is also part of the FFA at her school and plans to become a doctor. “If that fails, she said, “This is my backup plan, the agricultural field.”

Morehouse is also from Lakeside and is one year away from becoming an elementary teacher right here in her hometown. “ I co-lead the swine group, mentor the officers and I am also going to be a teacher. I am super excited to be able to tie the two together, because this is one of my life missions, to make people aware of what we have to offer.”

Lakeside Sagebrush 4-H chapter meets on every Tuesday of the month at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds. This is a 100 percent volunteer based non-profit organization with 15 activity clubs ran by mentors in the field of agriculture, home arts and robotics. The membership is fee based and it allows access to one or all activities. As Morehouse explains, “I believe everybody would agree that this is more than just a bunch of kids getting together. This is a family. We encourage everybody to participate and become an unit together because that’s what a community is.” 

More information about Lakeside Sagebrush 4-H programs could be found at http://sagebrush4h.com/.

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