Celebrating a 50th anniversary doesn't happen by chance. There is a lot of dedication that goes into keeping an organization up and running for half a century.
It's not an accident that the NILE stock show and rodeo is having its annual event again this year. The board members, staff, volunteers, and supporters have made conscious efforts to make the NILE what it is today. One of the strategies or values has been youth--getting kids involved and make them want to come back as adults.
Passing on the lessons, the experiences and the fun from NILE is part of passing it on to the next generation. For that we would like to take this month to thank educators--those that dedicate their efforts to teaching kids.
The NILE has many educators that help with different programs all year long, and during the week of the stock show and rodeo. We are so grateful for their expertise and generosity. Giving up time and giving out energy is something so many of them do without even thinking twice.
One special program that brings students and teachers to the stock show and rodeo is the 4th Grade Agriculture Education Program. All 4th grade classrooms in the Yellowstone County area are invited to this field trip. Approximately 2,000 kids rotate through the stations. Students learn about water and soil conservation, honey bees, beef, weeds, crops, and come face to face with farm animals.
A few of the program's organizers gathered to plan details for the upcoming year. They shared a few of their favorite memories from the years of bringing agriculture a little closer to kids.
Not all corn is popcorn, nor is it sweet corn. Chocolate milk doesn't come from brown cows. THAT smell you smell on the south side of Billings, is sugar beets. The questions that usually get a couple chuckles start off innocently with "How do you tell if the animals are boys or girls?"
The 4th Grade Ag Ed Program is probably the most traditional education program in the sense that it's 4th graders and teachers. However, there are so many excellent role models and educate youth as well as the general public. They teach about agriculture, but also the values in the culture of farmers and ranchers--hard work, dedication, compassion, just to name a few.
The NILE salutes the educators, the ones that are making a positive impact for the next generation.
The patient parents who provide life lessons every day for their kids. Thank you for helping them with their chores, getting their entries in, and for inspiring this lifestyle.
The Merit Heifer donors that provide guidance to the recipients. Teaching them about raising a heifer, best practices for breeding, nutritional needs and the beef industry.
The ring stewards and volunteers that bend down to get to a kids level and whisper encouraging tips. It's a comfort to a junior to just have someone there while leading a thousand pound animal around.
The 4th Grade Ag Education presenters, seeing about 2,000 school kids in three days, and exposing the industry that surrounds them, and feeds them.
The teachers that value the importance of learning about agriculture and bring their students to the NILE.
The college advisers who promote the NILE internship program and support students to pursue career goals.
The FFA teachers and 4-H leaders that supplement learning beyond the classroom. Thanks for bringing your clubs and chapters to the NILE contests and for helping them with their projects.
And to everyone else that has ever given a spare moment to a kid, or a lasting piece of a advice. We salute you for being an educator.