$7,500 donated back to local 4-H and FFA members through add-on sponsorship
PASO ROBLES — Building a new tradition, the Paso Robles Police Officer Association (POA) not only supported local FFA and 4-H youth, but also purchased an animal from the auction for the second year from the California Mid-State Fair Jr. Livestock Auction.
In early July, POA welcomed local FFA and 4-H members to come to the station for interviews for a chance to earn an “add-on” scholarship for auction. This is when a buyer can add funds to a 4-H or FFA member’s animal project’s auction price. In three days, POA held interviews for 120 kids plus more in the following days. Officers conducted one-on-one interviews with the students on their animal projects. The POA saw more students of various ages get involved with their add-on scholarship program this year and equally had more officers of different ranks involved with interviews.
POA President Det. Elizabeth Place, told Paso Robles Press they noticed that showing animals at the CMSF was not only a tradition for the students but for their families going back generations.
“We wanted to keep that going,” said Place, who wants the POA to become a part of that tradition.
Place noticed some of the students were nervous and hesitant at first doing one-on-one interviews with the officers, but soon they began to open up about their animal projects and the process it takes to get to fair. One student shared that her dad makes a family recipe for her animal — a recipe she was keeping close to her heart.
But the goal of doing the interviews with the students without their parents was to help them build confidence and interviewing skills. “They [students] surprise themselves,” Place said.
Last year, Place noticed most of the students were older and ready to put money towards a car. But this year, with the younger student involvement, more students were planning to save up money for their next project or save it for a rainy day.
Place and the POA enjoy the add-on scholarship program because “We are able to interact more … we don’t really get to have that time with an officer and actually sit down and have a conversation one on one.”
At this year’s CMSF Jr. Livestock Auction, the POA chose local 4-H member Mason Ratekin’s hog as this year’s POA Junior livestock winner.
“Our friends at J&R Natural Meats and Sausage have processed our winning hog at no cost in a great partnership with our POA,” said Place. “Overall, we donated $7,500 back into our 4-H and FFA Paso Robles youth with add-ons and the purchase of the hog.”
Place says the POA look forward to keeping this new tradition alive and hopefully creating more with the community.
Place added, “We enjoyed meeting each participant and were blown away by their hard work and dedication to raising their fair animals.”
For more information on the Paso Robles POA, visit pasoroblespoa.com