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4-H brings Code of the West to PC PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kyle Arnoldy   

Thanks to funds from the District 5 4-H Council, Phillips County libraries recently received copies of James Owen’s “Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West,” “Cowboy Values: Recapturing What America Once Stood For” and “The Try: Reclaiming the American Dream.”

The 4-H Council, made up of 4-H representatives from Phillips, Sedgwick, Yuma, Washington and Kit Carson counties, received a $2,500 donation from the Pedal The Plains event held in September. In October, 4-H members decided that the funds would be best put to use by purchasing the books.

Members of the Phillips County 4-H Council present the Holyoke JR/SR High School library with copies
of James Owen’s books on ethics. Pictured from left are Austin Vieselmeyer, Josilyn Lutze, Sid
Struckmeyer, school librarian Nancy Pillard and Nick Ortner.  —Enterprise photo

More than just books, however, the t10 core values Owen identifies in his books, known as the Code of the West, have been adopted by groups and schools across the nation as a way to instill a set of morals into society. The Code of the West states:

1—Live each day with courage.

2—Take pride in your work.

3—Always finish what you start.

4—Do what has to be done.

5—Be tough, but fair.

6—When you make a promise, keep it.

7—Ride for the brand.

8—Talk less and say more.

9—Remember that some things aren’t for sale.

10—Know where to draw the line.

“We wanted something that would benefit all five counties,” said Kindra Plumb, CSU Extension program associate.

In April, Plumb attended a training program based on the Code of the West in Burlington put on by the Boys and Girls Club of Wyoming. Along with 20 other 4-H agents from around the state, Plumb learned how to incorporate the philosophy from the books into 4-H through activities that prompt kids of all ages to explore the morals involved in making tough decisions.

“I am hoping that the prominence of the philosophy grows in the future, not just with 4-H, but in other youth development areas,” Plumb said. “I think that there are multiple ways it can benefit kids. I think, unfortunately, in today’s society, these principles are not followed anymore. I think they can really help the kids in their decision making.”

While implementing the set of values into the 4-H program is still in the preliminary stages, with the books available at all Phillips County libraries, children and adults alike can benefit from the wisdom offered.

Nick Ortner, who will take over as the Phillips County 4-H council president in June, and Austin Vieselmeyer a senator in the council, were both a part of the decision to purchase the books. They noted that they thought the values promoted would be beneficial to kids as it gives a glimpse of the right way to approach ethical questions.


Holyoke Enterprise May 16, 2013