Tuesday, January 09, 2007

It was a better day today (or yesterday at this point). The household is still recovering from the bug, but we are all better. My third born has a mysterious rash that I'm hoping isn't anything to worry about.

After I came in this evening, I did some more editing done on Troubled Waters. I have to say that I really like this story more and more as I work on it.

I'm reading a gritty detective novel right now entitled, "The Cat Dancers" by P.T. Determan and am enjoying it. It's not particularly high-brow, but it's well done so far. I have to confess, when it comes to this kind of book, I generally prefer the male writer's style of telling a story. I think it is the attention to action as opposed to language and relationships. Love is usually a part of the book, but not the focal point. That and the male protagonist doesn't spend every extra minute agonizing over why the woman of his life doesn't love him any more.

I went to the office, mailed off the newsletter, returned phone calls and dealt with the stuff that built up on my desk during my absence. I packed up and drove to a club meeting at the end of the day, handed out forms and county handbooks and talked about upcoming events etc. The parents in that particular club are a terrific bunch who really seem to have gotten the hang of
4-H and its purpose.

At the end of a very pleasant evening, one set of parents pulled me aside to discuss a problem they are having with the leader of the club their daughter used to belong to. Their story angers me as it is clear that this adult is taking advantage of a group of kids. She's using them to show her dairy cattle and baits them by promising them the cash winnings and the ribbons. Once she's got them signed up and lets them have the winnings for a couple of shows, the money suddenly disappears and, if the kid asks, she tells them that it's going back into the club fund. As there is no "club fund" per se and not really a club, more of a project group, this translates to this means that she's probably lining her own pockets with this money. The woman runs a dairy for crying out loud. She can't possibly need these kids' winnings unless she's recycling it to cover entry fees.

For the uninitiated--stock which is shown in 4-H fairs typically sells for more at auctions because those who are buying them believe that not only are they getting a good animal, but that they are helping some kid go to college. Stock which is shown in 4-H shows as well as in the main stock shows does even better--plus the owner only has to pay one entry fee to enter both. There is the additional eye-candy value of a cute kid leading champion milk cow into the ring.

I really have no idea as to how to combat this. The parents who spoke with me asked me to leave their names out of it as they work for the woman who is doing this. Also the woman is on the extension council--a committe of people who have some authority over me. Though she never shows up for the meetings, the position is hers until she doesn't want it anymore, as it is not even an elected position like most council members. Politically speaking, I'm in an awkward position.

I can and should turn this over to the Youth Specialist who oversees me, if she'll take it. Unfortunately she and this woman have an unpleasant history of some sort (she must make friends everywhere she goes . . .). However if they are already on poor terms, this won't make any difference.

I miss not being able to speak my mind and I hate playing politics. I will not miss this aspect of the job when I leave it.

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