Last Monday, I attended the Carroll County 4-H Fair as a part of a Chamber breakfast. As I transition to Maryland, Chamber activities allow me to network and meet with friends of Target. The breakfast was terrific, and I connected with new faces, but the real excitement was the 4-H aspect of the morning. As an 11-year 4-Her, the fair brought back many memories. I credit participation in 4-H as the foundation of most of what I believe about service to a greater community and engagement with others.
After breakfast, we were given the option to tour the fair. The current Miss Carroll County 4-H led our group. We walked through the exhibits and ended up in the show barn to watch a couple of classes of the day’s dairy show. Our host answered a question in a way that struck me as critically important. I missed the question, but she responded that 4-H was the one activity in which you competed with your peers, but at the end of the day, you were there to help each other. Even in the heat of the competition, if your fellow 4-H’er stumbles, you are there to offer a hand.
Later in the week, I traveled to Baltimore for lunch with a Target board member who practices law. We met at a restaurant in the harbor. I arrived early and took a walk snapping a few pictures to send to friends back home. My longtime friend and 4-H buddy, Kyle, responded that the images of boats did not look like I was in Kansas any longer.
In my lunch conversation with the board member, Chris, we discussed his motivation for work within his current firm. He commented that he liked his current role because everyone works together towards the same end, unlike in litigation. All parties on both sides of the table are motivated to work together towards an expected outcome. This reminded me of the comment at the fair a few days earlier. Even in the middle of the competition, we are all here to lend a hand.
My friend Jean posts a meme on Facebook frequently, and I share it every time I get the chance. The image is of a tree-lined back road in autumn (the kind of road I imagine I’ll be driving on in a few months). Brilliant leaves frame the road, and a quote from Ram Dass is imposed over the explosion of color: “We’re all just walking each other home.”
We are here to help one another even during competition. We can work together from both sides of a table towards a common goal. We are all walking each other home. I find these ideas expressed in the work here at Target, a community of individuals in many different roles and capacities. Still, we are a human services organization designed to serve each part of the whole. #thanksTarget.