Kamm, Groenewold mark final year in 4-H
RUSHMORE -- Amber Kamm and Sadie Groenewold grew up within a mile of each other on a gravel road east of Rushmore. They've known each other forever, joining the 4-H Cloverbud program at the age of 6 and, for the past dozen years, working side by side in the Rushmore Central Hustlers 4-H Club.
Today, the two 19-year-olds will likely be bustling around their respective farm yards, making sure their beef cattle are cleaned up and ready to be brought to the Nobles County Fairgrounds in Worthington. The fair, after all, is just one day away.
For Kamm and Groenewold, the four-day event will mark their final year in the 4-H program. Earlier this week, they reflected on their accomplishments in the youth organization and their last Nobles County Fair.
Said Groenewold's mom, Brenda, the last time the girls walk their beef animals out of the show ring will be a sad event for each of them.
"I mostly enjoyed the fair -- it was just another place to show cattle," said Groenewold, who also competes in open class beef shows in South Dakota. "I'm going to miss going to the fair and showing cattle."
Kamm said her favorite part of 4-H was also the fair -- both county and state fair, when she earned trips with her projects.
"I'll miss the fair -- that's probably the best part (about 4-H)," she added.
The Kamm and Groenewold families have long histories in the Nobles County 4-H program. Both are third generation 4-H members in the Rushmore Central Hustlers, which was established in 1927 and remains Nobles County's oldest 4-H club. Kamm's mother Carmen grew up in the club, and grandmother Irene Eisele has long been a 4-H adult volunteer. As for Groenewold, both her mom and dad, Larry, were in the club, as was Larry's dad, Harlan Groenewold. Her other grandparents, Tom and Arla Engelkes, have also been long-time 4-H adult volunteers.
Groenewold is the youngest of three children, and Kamm is the oldest of three children. All of their siblings have either completed or are still involved in the youth leadership program.
"I wanted to be in it like my brothers were in it," Groenewold said. "I wanted to be cool like them."
This year, Groenewold will have six cattle at the fair, exhibiting two Prospect heifers, two Prospect steers, a market steer and a breeding heifer. With working at a job and being a full-time college student, that was about all she had time for.
As for Kamm, she already was judged in the clothes you buy and foods competitions, where she earned blue ribbons. Today, she will enter her flower gardening, youth leadership and creative arts projects, and on Thursday she will bring her beef animals to the fair. Kamm plans to show one Prospect steer and one Prospect heifer during the beef show on Saturday.
In addition to their fair projects, Kamm and Groenewold have also been active in other areas of 4-H. Each year their club hosts Sweetheart Bingo in Rushmore in February, sponsor a 4-H Dinner in May and do Christmas caroling to the elderly residents of their community in December.
As for what 4-H has taught them over the years, Groenewold was quick to say "responsibility."
"You have to have all your projects done on time," she said. "I also learned how to show cattle. I'm trying to teach my nephews not to be scared of cattle."
Kamm said she has learned "how to be a leader."
Both girls have long held offices in their local club -- Kamm as scrapbook keeper, vice president and, this year, her second term as secretary; while Groenewold has served the past five years as the club's president. Before that, she served two years as secretary and one year as treasurer.
Kamm and Groenewold have each earned the Green Clover award for their leadership and involvement in 4-H, and each has received numerous awards for their project records.
The teens are both 2009 graduates of Adrian High School, where they took part in marching band and color guard together. Groenewold is now a student at Colorado Technical University in Sioux Falls, S.D., where she is pursuing a degree in medical assistant. As for Kamm, she will attend Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Worthington this fall in pursuit of a degree in medical administrative secretary.