Fundraiser organized for 4-H kids who lost animals in barn fire
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After numerous people called wanting to help the four kids who lost five pigs and two sheep in a fire, a fundraiser to help them recoup their losses has been organized with the goal of giving them the option to start over with new animals.
That group was spearheaded by Todd Hagenbuch, county director and agriculture agent for the Colorado State University Extension Office in Routt County.
The fire broke out May 9 in a shed at Legacy Ranch, which was housing the animals for the four kids, ages 13 to 18, who were raising the livestock as part of the 4-H program.
Through a partnership with Yampatika, the space is made available for local 4-H kids who don’t have a place of their own to raise the animals.
The program is “designed to help develop well-rounded kids,” Hagenbuch said.
They are involved in the process of planning, purchasing, accounting and keeping meticulous records on top of the hands-on animal husbandry skills they learn along the way, Hagenbuch said.
The project culminates in the showing and sale of the animals at the Routt County Fair in August.
“We are developing youth in a way that encourages them to make sound business and personal decisions — hopefully lessons that impact them positively for a lifetime,” Hagenbuch said.
And the kids had a lot invested in not only the animals themselves, but supplies, feed and other equipment — all of which was lost in the fire.
“We want to help make them whole again,” Hagenbuch said, regardless of whether they decide to get new animals.
The community generously stepped up after the fire, he said, with some offers of new animals and places for the animals to live. The fundraiser isn’t sponsored by 4-H, he said, but Hagenbuch stepped in to facilitate and provide a way for people to give and to equitably disperse donations to all four kids.
Of course, the 4-H project ends with the animals being sold for consumption, he acknowledged, but “that is very different” than the tragic and unexpected way they perished. Hagenbuch said he felt heartbroken for the kids and the animals after hearing the news.
“4-H is about teaching kids life lessons,” he said. “But this is a life lesson no kid should have to learn.”
The fundraiser is being conducted through a GoFundMe campaign. To donate, go online to https://www.gofundme.com/f/legacy-ranch-fire-4h-animal-projects?utm_medium=email&utm_source=product&utm_campaign=p_email%2B7002-thank-you-instructions-v5.
As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, $405 of the $4,000 goal has been raised.
To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.
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