Supports property tax Proposition 1 | Letter to the Editor

This November, San Juan County residents will have an opportunity to vote "yes" for our children and seniors. Proposition 1 (aka the Lid Lift Levy) will be on the ballot.

This is quite a controversial issue considering the economic climate we currently find ourselves in. As much as voters may want to “just say no,” it is vital for this levy to pass or our county 4-H program will be lost.

Our 4-H program serves 30 percent of the children living in our county. San Juan County’s service to youth is the second highest in our state. This vital and very successful youth development program is available to all families on all islands. NO child is turned away.

4-H is one of the largest youth prevention programs in our county. In 4-H, our children not only learn about their individual projects (raising marketable livestock, breeding animals, raising sustainable gardens, etc.), they learn essential life skills such as cooperation, ethical and moral behavior, self-confidence, sportsmanship, citizenship, public speaking, oral reasoning, critical thinking, goal setting and more.

We’ve all seen our 4-H'ers showing off their hard work every year at the fair. In fact, three quarters of youth exhibits entered in the San Juan County Fair are from 4-H youth. Scholarships and awards are given for those who show exceptional effort and success. Our 4-H teens take advantage of special annual programs and activities just for them.

Know Your Government in Olympia, Teen Rally, Teen Conference and National 4-H Congress in Washington, D.C. are a few opportunities our youth have to go beyond what our county program can offer. These are available to our youth through fund-raising efforts.

However, 4-H cannot exist in our county without the professional oversight provided by our 4-H program coordinator. This position is required by the state to insure proper training of volunteers, to keep abreast of changing child abuse laws and trends and to educate and ensure safety and proper running of the program. The program coordinator’s position is funded solely through county tax dollars.

This is the rule and how it is done in every county. Most of the counties in our state are struggling as ours; however they are not sacrificing their 4-H programs. If Proposition 1 does not pass, there will be no funds for the professional oversight of our county’s 4-H program and it will close down. Period!

Please, now is not the time to "just say no." Vote "yes" for our kids and Proposition 1 in November to save 4-H!

Cathy Cole, Autumn Hallock, Jason Black, Joanne Wolf, Vicki Hebert, Emily Hallock, Terri Brown, Flo McAlary-McFarland, Annette Crosby, Chris Lindsey
4-H volunteers and parents
Friday Harbor

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