Carl Schmidgall knows how to take a bad situation and make it better.

His sister, Korri, wrecked her Jeep when she hit a patch of black ice coming home from basketball practice. She was fine, but the Jeep was totaled. It sat in the machine shed at home for two years before Carl decided to rebuild it, bigger and better.

Sometimes we take for granted the simple, everyday, every-year things which make our lives complete. Take birthdays. We all have them, but 4-H members learned that many of their peers don't get to enjoy birthdays in the same way the 4-H youth do.

For kids in need in Boone and Winnebago counties, kindness is wrapped in a warm sleeping bag.

For four years, 15-year-old 4-H member Serenity Brockman has used her allowance and birthday money to buy child-themed sleeping bags for children in need. This year, Serenity enlisted the help of her fellow Boone County 4-H Federation members.

"It just made me so sad how many children were affected," Serenity said. She has learned of children living in poverty, children abused or neglected, and children affected by accidents or house fires.

Peter and Isaac didn't know each other before arriving at 4-H Memorial Camp, but two days in, each has found his new best friend. There's something about fresh air, campfires, starry nights, and lake water that brings out the best in humanity.

On Purpose. With Purpose.
There is a difference.

Many of us do great things with purpose. We are amazing employees. We conquer difficult tasks. We study with purpose, work with purpose, live with purpose, but how much of what we do with purpose is on purpose? There is a difference.

On purpose means there was a conscious choice, a deliberate decision with mindful clarity to do something, to be something. On purpose actions are driven by choice. How many of the great things you do are by your choice?

It's that time of year when the minds of 4-H storytellers turn to impact reports.

My understanding of impact has changed in the years since I first studied ag communications in the basement of Mumford Hall. It took real life to show me what my professors tried so hard to teach me.

Impact isn't what I did; impact is WHAT CHANGED IN OTHERS because I did something.

In my early days "doing" 4-H work, I thought it was enough that I held events. I counted heads in the room and thought I was doing my job. Thirty-five years later, I finally get it.