Cambridge 4-H has been a big part of my family for many years. My mother-in-law, Ruth Hinchley, was a volunteer leader in the club and raised her family to be involved in all that 4-H does for Cambridge. My husband, Duane, and his siblings all showed cattle through 4-H but also participated in many other things the club did throughout the year. Later, my sister-in-law, Marcia, became the club leader and introduced my children to 4-H.
    The 4-H pledge: I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world. This is an organization that is world wide and has enlightened many youth into becoming responsible, confident and valued citizens.
    I have been an active volunteer for Cambridge 4-H for over 14 years with the last six years as the club leader. This past September, as the 4-H year was coming to an end and it was time to elect new officers to lead the club, I was approached by three parents who were interested in helping in the club leadership roll. I have been asking for several years after my daughters graduated out of 4-H if anyone was willing to step up and take on the roll as the Cambridge 4-H leader.
    I was so happy to pass the roll of leader to these moms but would still help if needed. Our farm could still be used for activities just as it has been in the past. The direction of the club would be led by three parents who have children that are active in sports and other commitments. The sharing of the role of leader was then manageable and would be able to fit into their schedules.
    We have a very active club, especially during the holidays. We focus on community service projects. These new parent leaders have children who have been in 4-H for many years. They would continue some of the club projects but would also bring fresh ideas and programs to the club for the youth to participate in.
    The Christmas wreath and roping fundraiser starts at the annual officer installation in October. I always buy many wreaths and some roping for our own decorations and to give to our truck and tractor drivers. This year I gave my order to one of the members to add to their list of contacts for the future. These kids work really hard to sell these wreaths, and because they are very good quality of pine boughs, the buyers look forward to having them for their holiday decorations every year.
    The club ends up with a whole trailer full of wreaths and a big box of bows that are assembled in our shed on the Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend. The fresh sent of pine stays in the shed until spring. This year I watched as the new leaders took control and sorted and made sure every member had all of their orders. If any corrections needed to be made, they handled it. I stepped aside and was pleased to see how smooth it all went. The families delivered their orders, and the customers quickly put up their wreaths along with their other decorations while the weather was mild.
    Some of the profits will go to purchasing gifts for children in the Cambridge area with a local program called Adopt-a-Child. The youth members select several children’s cards from the Christmas trees at the local bank and plan on spending $30 per child. Many organizations help get gifts for the children insuring all of the Christmas wishes are met.
    These cards are put on the trees for children who would otherwise not get gifts due to family hardship. The 4-H club members enjoy picking out the cards and purchasing items for the anonymous child.
    It is always a humbling moment when the members read the cards of what some of these children are wishing for Christmas. Clothes, socks, winter jackets, boots. Things our members have never been without. These purchases are well thought out and practical for the kids to give. The request for toys and books are a lot of fun for the members to pick out and purchase as well.
    This was the first year in the last 14 years I did not participate in the Adopt-a-Child shopping trip. It was comforting to know it was all being taken care of, and the community service projects I worked so hard with the members in the past will continue for years to come.
    I watched all of the posts on Facebook on the planning of the shopping trip. I liked seeing photos of the cars full of kids and the smiling faces divided up into groups with shopping carts. The excitement of giving something to someone their age in need kept them pumped up for the whole two hours of shopping.
    Being involved for so many years in this organization, I have become connected to these community service programs. These are some of the best memories of what 4-H can do for kids and adult volunteers. I will forever be proud and thankful to have been such a big part of the leadership but also confident these kids will continue to carry forward the legacy of what 4-H can do for them and others. I will watch them as the Cambridge 4-H club grows into the future, knowing they are in good hands with the new leadership.  
    Tina Hinchley, her husband, Duane, and their daughters, Anna and Catherine, milk 240 registered Holsteins with robots. They also farm 2,300 acres of crops near Cambridge, Wisconsin.  They have been hosting farm tours for over 20 years.