One of the great things that happens here in our county every spring is the Ellis County Youth Expo, where hundreds of 4-H and FFA kids get together to compete for ribbons, bragging rights and an opportunity to go through the champions sale. Throw in the family atmosphere, the fun and fellowship, and it’s a combination that’s hard to beat. If you weren’t able to stop by this past week at the Expo Center, put it on your calendar for next year – and bring your family with you.

These kids put a lot of hard work into their projects, whether they’re raising a show animal, building a shop project or participating in the creative arts competition. Their projects have been months in the making and reflect the hours and hours of time they’ve put into them. That kind of commitment takes support and you’ll see plenty of that around the Youth Expo, which is always a family affair with all of the parents, grandparents, siblings and other relatives and friends cheering these young people on while they compete, just like they’ve been supporting them since they first started their project. You can see the family bonds with these kids and their families. You see the work ethic they’re learning by participating in these programs.

For many of these kids, it’s a lifelong activity they’ve picked up from their parents and something they’ll pass onto their children one day. They’re learning life skills through the 4-H and FFA programs that extend beyond knowing how to show clip a lamb or use shop tools. They’re learning how to make our world a better place to live in. A prime example of this was the Youth Expo kids sponsoring a Special Olympics group and each of the youth kids buddied with a Special Olympics child, who got to show an animal. It was great.

I do know all of these kids are our future leaders in the making and it’s incredibly rewarding for the other volunteers and myself to watch them over the years as they grow up and advance from the peewee level to the senior competitions. We wouldn’t be anywhere else when the Ellis County Youth Expo rolls around.

Please, everyone, let’s keep our military and service personnel in our thoughts and prayers. We enjoy our rights and freedoms because of their service and safekeeping of our great nation. Y’all have a Blessed Week.


Johnny Brown has served as Sheriff of Ellis County since Jan. 1, 2009, and is a graduate of the National Sheriff’s Institute. He has been in law enforcement for more than 20 years and holds a Master’s Peace Officer’s Certificate with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.