Title: Polly Osceola Hayes
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Full Text

Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Seminole Collection

Interviewee: Polly Osceola Hayes
Interviewer: R. Howard
10 May 1999

H: I am talking today with Polly Osceola Hayes, here at the cattle and range office
on the Brighton reservation. This is May 10, 1999. Polly, to what clan do you

OH: Panther Clan.

H: Is your family all here on Brighton reservation? Did you grow up here on the

OH: I was born and raised here on Brighton reservation, but I have family probably on
three or four reservations.

H: How many Panther Clan people are on this reservation? Do you have any idea?

OH: You know, that is something I cannot answer. I do not know that I could even
estimate. I would say that the majority of the Panther Clan is on this reservation.

H: When and where were you born?

OH: I was born here on the reservation in 1942.

H: Do you have an Indian name?

OH: Yes.

H: Can you tell me what that is?

OH: Hayujee.

H: Hayujee?

OH: That is the month of July.

H: In what language?

OH: Seminole Creek.

H: And who named you?

OH: My father.

H: Was your name because you were born in July?

OH: Yes.

H: How do you feel about having both an English and an Indian name?

OH: I always just that thought that went with it, not anything different.

Polly Osceola Hayes
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H: Do you use the Indian name in any particular contexts?

OH: Not really. Just my mother and my aunts usually will call me by that name.

H: Do many people live on this reservation and work in the city? Or do most people
work here on the reservation?

OH: I believe the majority of them work here on the reservation. I have been working
with the tribe now, this is going to be the third year in August, and I have
probably worked for the tribe a total of eight years, and I have always worked on
the outside.

H: What did you used to do and what do you do now?

OH: I started off working for the USDA [United States Department of Agriculture]. I
worked with them in the brucellosis field, testing cattle, running blood samples,
and stuff like that. I traveled to different counties and worked with the different
cattle owners outside of the tribe. I worked with them for ten years. Then my
mother passed away, and I was working over at Indian River at that time, that is
on the coast. My mother passed away so I had to drive back and forth, and at
that time I had worked up to a supervisor and I had five counties to cover. I could
not come back here and keep check on the cattle and do my job so I had to leave
that position. Then I managed the Lakeport Lodge down here at Lakeport for a
short time, I guess about two years. Then I went to work for Okeechobee
County. I worked in their extension office for over ten years. They asked me to
come and help with the 4-H program here, and I told them, make it worth my
while, because I had been at that job for a pretty good while and I ran the office
there. I was the office manager and I had four extension agents that I had to
take care of, doing all of their paper work and everything. I have been here going
on three years in August. I have more or less always worked on the outside.

H: Tell me more about what you do here at the cattle and range office.

OH: I am the 4-H coordinator. When I came here, they said they were in trouble.
They had thirty-five kids enrolled in 4-H and they had just gotten an extension
agent. The representative said, we know there are kids out there, and we want
the enrollments up. So, right now we have 182 members enrolled in 4-H on five
reservations. We travel to five reservations.

H: You are the coordinator for all of those?

OH: In the Seminole Tribe, yes.

H: And you mentioned the extension agent. Who is the extension agent and where
are they from?

Polly Osceola Hayes
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OH: The extension agent right now is Sabrina Tuttle. You met her just a few minutes
ago; I did not introduce you, but she is our extension agent. She has been here
a little more than I have, I think. I think she has been here three years in April.

H: What kinds of things does she do to work with you and the tribe?

OH: I more or less do the 4-H part, and she works bringing seminars and teaching-
type programs to the cattle people, and then she and I work a lot on the other
programs on the other reservations, too.

H: The 4-H program, tell me about what that is.

OH: It is a youth program. It is for children eight to eighteen, and as long as they are
in school, they are able to participate. Right now their biggest 4-H project is large
animals. We have gotten quite a few younger kids to participate in small
animals. We have quite a few small animal kids that show rabbits. That was
kind of hard to get started because of our beliefs and all. They really did not
want the kids to be handling the small animals, like rabbits and that type of stuff,
but it is coming along.

H: Why is that? You said because of your beliefs?

OH: Yes. Well, I guess it is like . .. Well, they always told us, you do not eat rabbits
because if you eat rabbits, you are liable to have leg cramps, and this type of
stuff, and this was just a part of it. So, if you handle a rabbit, it sort of led to that.
But I explained to them that they do not really handle the rabbits. We had to
slowly get into that. We had to get the kids into feeding the animals and taking
care of the animals. And this past year we have had kids actually showing the
animals. So, we kind of had to break into that gently. That is what we have,
mostly, large animals. But we do have, at one of the other reservations, public
speaking, and we have kids who have been into that for a couple of years. They
really seem to enjoy it. And for the other reservation in the rural area, we have
horse clubs, and we have to do something a little bit different because they
cannot have large animals on their reservation, being in a big town and
everything, but they do have swine as their project.

H: Which reservation is this?

OH: Hollywood. And Tampa. So, they have to take swine and small animals. On the
Tampa reservation, they do gardening and cooking. They had shooting sports
last year. When I say shooting sports I mean with bow and arrow and that type
of thing. Hollywood, they like to stay strictly with the swine right now. There is so
much going on in a town that size, I guess, there is always something going on
over there, activity with recreation. Here we have clothing. We work with the
culture department. When we say sewing, we had someone from the culture to

Polly Osceola Hayes
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come in and show the kids how they make designs so that they can incorporate
that into a dress, or a skirt, or something. We had one child go to Tampa State
Fair last year with a little skirt and design that she had made herself. I believe
she was a nine-year-old.

H: You not only do animals, but you do other cultural aspects?

OH: Other programs, right. But the biggest interest is in the animals, the large
animals, I guess mostly because the Seminole Tribe is in agriculture.

H: Since you do culture, how do you relate to the culture program of the tribe or how
are you interrelated with them?

OH: As the 4-H program we try to work with other programs that have youth
programs, and we use their programs and combine it to make it into a big
youth-and it does not necessarily have to be a 4-H program, but as long as they
are learning some type of their own culture, we can kind of blend it into a 4-H
program. That is how we use the culture program. We plan to do more this year,
so we will see.

H: Can you tell me what you know about Seminole history, like the wars and famous
figures-Osceola, Jumper?

OH: Now, the history, it is strange but you grow up hearing about it from your
mother-well, in my case, from my mother-and you just take it for granted. You
do not read all the history books when you are in school. So, all the history that I
know of is what my mother told me, what she was told when she was a young

H: And what was that?

OH: About when the soldiers came in, and they would have to take their little kids and
the women and they would hide them out in the swamp area and they would
have to stay. The men would go the opposite way so that it would take the
soldiers away, and sometimes they would have to be there for days and days.
They would stay there until somebody came back and told them it was okay for
them to come out. She would tell me about childbirth, and I would ask her, how
did you mothers handle it without going to the hospital and all the pain shots?
She would tell me that, back in the old days, they would just use the smaller type
of trees and . .. You have to understand, I think each clan tells their own
version of the culture and the history and stuff, and so she would tell me that
when they were having babies, they would get between two types of small trees
so they could use that to push the baby out. Like the hurricanes and stuff like
that, I would ask, what did you all do when there were hurricanes and when there
were storms and all? She said that they would, as far back as she could

Polly Osceola Hayes
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remember, when they were out in the open area, get like a strong vine [that]
grows real big-they are about like this, and you can't hardly break them off or
anything. She said they would get those and they would just get the biggest
trees they could, like up in the hammock, and tie themselves to the base of the
trees to keep from getting blown away. That kind of stuff is what she would tell
me. As for the history of soldiers and stuff like that, she did not really say, other
than just that area there. She would tell me, though, that there were lots of
different tribes of Indians here and we ourselves hurt each other, the other tribes
of Indians hurt each other. They had, she was told as a young girl, they had to
run quite a few Indians off to the base of Florida, like into the Keys, and she said
that at that time the water was so shallow that they just kept walking across to
the different Islands. So, she said, you may have cousins over there

H: What was your mother's name?

OH: Hashijee. That was her Indian name. Her name was Lizzie Buck. Her maiden
name was Lizzie Johns. My father was a Creek from Oklahoma. So, I learned a
culture from my father, and I learned one from my mother, and then the English
part of it, so I had actually three different types of culture.

H: So your mother is Miccosukee?

OH: No, she was Creek, Seminole Creek from here. She spoke Creek, Cow-Creek
language, as they called it.

H: Were there a lot of differences in the culture, Oklahoma versus the Florida

OH: Yes. Like the little stories and their little, different things that went on. There
were. The language was the same, they spoke it just a little bit slower.

H: Which one?

OH: The Creeks in Oklahoma. Basically, everything else was the same. Their beliefs
were the same. Their medicine was a little bit different working, the herbs and
stuff like that were a little bit different.

H: Was that because they had different kinds of things growing out there than grew

OH: Yes.

H: Do you know any medicine women or medicine men here that still practice

Polly Osceola Hayes
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OH: Oh, yes. There are still some out there.

H: Do you ever use any of them?

OH: Oh, yes, we still do. We know where they are on the other reservations and we
will go to them and ask them if they would make medicine for us. But at the
same time, I think I learned a lot from my mother. Like I said, each clan did their
own little deals and I believe that every clan or every mother, I think they all knew
a little bit of medicine, kind of like a medicinal everyday type of thing. She would
take me out in the woods and show me what this is and what you use it for, [for]
as long as I can remember. She was getting to where she was teaching me the
little songs and stuff when she passed away.

H: The songs and the herbs were all a part of the medicine?

OH: Yes.

H: You mentioned a couple of times now about clans, and how clans had different
beliefs and different versions of things that happened. Can you tell me a little
more about the differences in the clans?

OH: Well, I say that because I have noticed, in my years of growing up, that if
someone dies and they are a Bird Clan or if they are another clan, I notice that
they do medicine a little bit differently, and some things for the family they might
handle a little bit differently. I was always told that it depended on what the
medicine man made, who they got to do the medicine for them. They had to go
by his instructions, but also that each clan had their own different way of doing

H: So, would a medicine man treat people from different clans, or would he be clan

OH: Oh, yes. As far as I know, they never denied anyone of another clan.

H: But when you were growing up, there was not much intermingling between the
clans? You pretty much stayed with your own clan?

OH: Oh, no. There was mingling. Except like cases when there were deaths in the
family, and that is when you would really notice, I think.

H: Can you tell me about your education?

OH: I went to Okeechobee, and in fact I guess I was one of the first. I think there
were four of us that went to Okeechobee High School. My father was a little
educated from Oklahoma so when he came down, they had a day school out

Polly Osceola Hayes
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here that all the kids went to. He took me over there, and I came home saying
something I heard everybody else saying, but it was not a very good word. I got
a spanking for that and I did not get to go back to the day school. [Laughter.] So
he said, you are going to go to a public school, and at that time they did not have
any Seminole students in the public school. I know that he talked to several
people, one of them was Joe Dan Osceola, Dorothy-she is Tommie now-
Osceola Tommie, and Ruth King. I think that those might have been the older
ones that started going there. I think there were just about three or four who
started going, and then the rest of us went. I remember the first day my father
took me to the first grade. I guess I did not speak any English then. I remember
he took me to the first grade and he told me in the language, stay here and I will
come back after you after school. And I was watching that teacher, and she was
talking away and everything. I got kind of bored so I walked to the window and
looked out. She was very gentle to me and brought me back and sat me down in
my chair. So, I sat there for a while and I decided-I could not understand what
she was saying, so I got up and walked to the window again. She took a little
ruler this time and tapped me on the hands. She did not have to say anything. I
knew that I was not supposed to get up now. But that was my first day at
elementary school. I went through high school there, at Okeechobee High
School. Then, after I left the high school, after my third child was born, I decided
to go back to college and pick up some more courses there. At that time the
Seminole Tribune was called Alligator Times, and there was one man publishing
that. Howard Tommie was the chairman at that time. He said, how would you
like a job, Polly? He said, you like to talk to people. I said, sure. He said, I need
somebody to learn how to work the newspaper. I said I would be glad to. So,
what I did, I went back to Nova [Southeastern University] in Davie and took some
journalism there and learned how to do all the writing and the typesetting and all
that. There was a paper in Davie that helped me. They showed me how to do all
the typesetting and sizing down the pictures, and pretty soon that man left, so it
was left up to me. So, I would travel through all of the reservations and I did
everything myself to publish the paper for, I do not know, it seemed like it was
one or two years, before I moved on to something else. I enjoyed that, and that
was very helpful. But then, like I said, when I moved back here, I have lived on
each reservation except Tampa and Immokalee, I think. I have lived in Big
Cypress and I have lived at Hollywood. Then I was interested in agriculture
because that was where my interest was. My father and mother had cattle and I
grew up riding horses and working around horses. My oldest brother was five
years older than me and he was away at school, and my younger brother, he
was too small, so I was their only cowboy. I got to where I could rope and ride
with my dad. That was where my interest was, so I helped them work cattle and
stuff and I took agriculture courses.

H: From where?

Polly Osceola Hayes
Page 9

OH: In Indian River. The college there. I got a certificate and I went through that,
even doing the artificial insemination. I learned how to do that-not that I ever
used it. [Laughter.] I had a hard time because I was so short, and the cows we
had to work on were so tall and so big, I had to get up on a chair and it felt like
my arm was not long enough to reach where I was supposed to go. But I
enjoyed that, so that was where my interest was, always in agriculture.

H: So your family owned cattle. Do you own any?

OH: Yes, I do.

H: How big is your herd?

OH: I think I have got close to ninety right now. My mother, at one time she had over
two hundred and, like I said, I was working off of the reservation and it was a little
too much for her to handle. So she said, sell all my cows except one hundred
and that way I can rotate the cows myself. So we always kept her down to about
a hundred, so when she died, I just took over.

H: What was your father's name?

OH: Lonnie Buck.

H: What kind of education did both of your parents have?

OH: My mother, none. She did not speak English at all. My father, he grew up going
to a boarding school.

H: In Oklahoma?

OH: Yes. How he happened to get down here was [that] his father had a little bit of
property and they had come down to Hollywood to see about buying some
property. He said, at that time, all the property around Hollywood and Davie was
like twenty-five cents an acre. They looked there, and went down to Tamiami
Trail, and on the way back they went through this area, and I guess he kind of
liked it. So, when he went back up there, he came back. I think he said he was
twenty-one when he came down.

H: And what year was that, approximately?

OH: Oh, my goodness. I am not sure what that would have been. My mother was
forty when I was born.

H: Did she have other children?

Polly Osceola Hayes
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OH: I had a brother, five years older than me, and then there was a girl that was the
one between me and my brother, but she died when she was about a year old or
something. So, she would have had four, altogether.

H: So, your father was a cattleman?

OH: Well, when they first allotted cattle to the Seminoles, my mother got it in her
name. He could not ever own cattle because he was not a Seminole-I mean,
from here. So, it was actually my mother's herd.

H: Perhaps I misheard you, but I thought I remembered you saying something about
your father came here to teach? What brought your father here?

OH: That is what I was saying. He came originally with his father, when they were
looking for property to buy.

H: But why did they want to come here? Did he ever tell you why he wanted to
come back?

OH: After he went back to Oklahoma and came back? You mean when he went back
to Oklahoma?

H: No, I mean when he originally left Oklahoma, why did he leave there?

OH: Well, that is what I was saying. He came with his father. His father was looking
for property to buy in Florida.

H: Because he wanted to move the family back to Florida?

OH: I am not sure. His father had struck oil in Oklahoma, so he had access to
money, and I guess he was thinking about investing it. Also, my dad's sister and
her husband, Willie King-he was the first missionary, Indian missionary, to the
Florida Seminoles-they were living in Okeechobee at the time. So, that gave
my father a reason to come back to this area, because his sister was living in

H: What was the name of the person who was the first missionary?

OH: Willie King.

H: Are you a Christian?

OH: Yes.

H: So, all of your family is Christian?

Polly Osceola Hayes
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OH: Yes. They all have been baptized. In fact, I grew up the first five years with my
aunt when they were living in Okeechobee, so I grew up going to church. I do
not go as often as I should right now, but I am a Christian.

H: When was it that Willie King came? Do you have any idea what year that was?

OH: What year? I do not remember. I am trying to think how old I was. They might
have been here in 1930 something, probably the last part.

H: People who are Christian and people who are non-Christian, do you see any
conflict in the relations between the two groups?

OH: I do not really believe so. I do not really believe so.

H: Is there a church here on the Brighton reservation?

OH: Yes, there are two here.

H: What are the names of those?

OH: First Indian Baptist Church and the other one is the Independent Church.

H: That is similar to Big Cypress.

OH: Yes, the same thing.

H: You have been very involved in the church all your life. What kind of roles do
women play in the Christian church?

OH: Today, or back then?

H: In the past thirty years. Do you think that the roles that women play now are very
much different than they were in the 1970s?

OH: I do not believe so.

H: What kinds of things do women do in the church? Are they the preachers? Are
they the ministers?

OH: No. The men are usually, I mean, so far as I remember. There may have been a
lady minister a time or two, but that I remember they always have been men.

H: And are they all Seminoles, the clergy?

OH: Now? I am probably not the most up-to-date on that answer. I know here, on
this reservation, they are.

Polly Osceola Hayes
Page 12

H: You mentioned that you own cattle. What breed of cattle do you raise and is that
different than, say, thirty years ago?

OH: Yes, because they started out with Brahman-type cattle, when they first started
out. I remember they had the fences so high and they would still jump over.
Then they went to, mostly right now they are crossbred, Hereford and Angus-

H: And at this cattle and range office, Sabrina Tuttle, you mentioned, does a lot of
extension work.

OH: With the University of Florida, yes.

H: How would you say that the commercial livestock industry has changed over the
last thirty years?

OH: I am probably not the most qualified to answer that either.

H: No problem. How are you involved with your cattle? Do you actually go out and
rope them, or do you hire someone to do it?

OH: Well, they have a cattle program here. Most of the time the owner, as I am, will
get our minerals and we will take them out there to the cattle and make sure they
have water and that type of stuff, but when it comes down to vaccination time
and brucellosis testing-that is a disease. Remember earlier when I said we
tested cattle for brucellosis. It is an infectious type of disease that gets in the
cattle. I am trying to think how to describe that. It does not hurt the animals,
really, but it is kind of like something that is passed on through the mother to the

H: Can that effect humans? Is that why there is testing for it?

OH: Well, the only way that it could effect humans is, say, for instance, a cow is
having a calf and the man is trying to help the cow and he is helping her and the
blood may get on his hands on an open wound. If the man gets it, he can have
malaria for the rest of his life. But it does not really affect the meat at the stores
or anything like that. That was something that USDA had put funds in for and
now Florida is supposed to be a clean state, unless they have changed it in the
last six or eight months.

H: Do you know much about agriculture around here?

OH: Other than cattle? They have citrus and they have sugar cane.

H: Here on Brighton?

Polly Osceola Hayes
Page 13

OH: Yes. The sugar cane part of it is fairly new. It started a couple of years ago. I
think they are into the second harvest now.

H: So, that is something that is relatively new. Is the cattle business declining and
they are looking for something new?

OH: Yes. Cattle has never been a profitable program there because it seems like the
prices keep going down while other things are going up, like the medicine, the
fertilizer, and the minerals. Everything else is going up, except the prices on the
cattle. So, they are looking at new ventures, business to get into, something that
might bring money into the cattle program.

H: It sounds like you are not directly involved with the agriculture-the citrus and the
sugar cane.

OH: No, no. I never did finish mine a while ago. When you asked me about that and
I never directly handled that. The cattle program does hire, when it comes time
to vaccinate and all this, they do hire so many men and they go out and get the
cattle up and they do the de-horning and the castrating and the branding and all
the medicine that has to be done. That is basically about twice a year. But the
other stuff you do yourself. The cattle owner has to go out there and mark their

H: Mark them? Like branding?

OH: Yes. Mark their ears. You find that there may be two cattle owners in one
pasture, so they have to mark their ear marks so it does not get mixed up with
the other person's cattle, so when it comes sale time they will know who it
belongs to.

H: Does the tribe still have an annual Green Corn Dance?

OH: Yes.

H: Have you ever attended it? Do you attend it now?

OH: No, I do not.

H: Did you in the past?

OH: No. That kind of goes back to what I was saying. When I was a teenager, they
would have something like a Green Corn Dance in Oklahoma. I was always
allowed to go to those. But when it came to going to ones here, my father would
strictly forbid it. I could not understand why, so one year we snuck off with my
cousins, we all snuck off, and I could tell the difference then because in

Polly Osceola Hayes
Page 14

Oklahoma, when they have all their annual dances and that type of stuff, they do
not allow any drinking, at all. They have people around there walking around,
making sure. That is why my father would always let me go there. But here,
when we snuck off there was, I guess at nighttime it is like their leisure time, so
there was a lot of drinking going on. That is why my father would never let me
go. I did see that difference. So, I never went back after that.

H: What do you think about the annual fair, the powwow? I went to one a few
weeks back in Hollywood. Do you think that those help to preserve Seminole
culture? I mean, they had the rodeo, and they had crafts?

OH: Preserve? Or to let the outside world see?

H: Well, does it help to preserve the culture or do you think it changes the culture?

OH: Well, I think somewhere along the way it has lost the reason that they were
having it because now it is more like a profit-making deal, it is more like for the
outside world than for the tribal members. That is what I see.

H: Did they always have some kind of annual fair but it was mainly for the
Seminoles or did that not happen?

OH: Well, they did here at Brighton. They used to call it the Brighton Field Day. It
was all just an annual thing where just the Indians would mingle together. They
would have a contest among themselves, which is actually the same thing they
are doing with the rodeo. That part of it has always been there. And Hollywood, I
guess that is the way it started out. It started out as another type of field day, the
big annual field day, a big tribal fair, for everyone. But here, in the last two or
three years that I have been, it seems each reservation kind of has their own
thing now, I guess, instead of one great big one for everybody. I guess each
reservation kind of has their own deals.

H: Do you ever wear traditional Seminole clothing?

OH: Yes.

H: Are there any particular times when you do?

OH: I used to during the tribal fairs. That was about the time. Probably the same
time. And right now, I have to go back and kind of correct myself on that. At the
Hollywood tribal fair, that is when everybody from all of the different reservations
gets up their best dress and you compete against the other members of the tribe.
So, I guess it is still holding in.

H: But on a daily basis you do not?

Polly Osceola Hayes
Page 15

OH: No.

H: Have you ever visited the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum?

OH: No, I have not.

H: How about the Okalee Museum?

OH: No.

H: Why is that?

OH: I just never had the opportunity, I guess. I would love to.

H: In the last thirty years the Seminole Tribe has made major economic changes,
the agriculture and livestock we have talked about, in education, and in different
business activities. How have these changes affected your life?

OH: Well, probably, like I mentioned earlier, most of my working days have been off
the reservation. Coming back into working in the tribe the last three years has
been a totally new experience. It is like, I have lived here while I was working in
Okeechobee but I was not up to date on what was going on everyday. It has
been a real experience getting back into the mainstream of working with the tribe.
So, I am probably not qualified to answer that question.

H: But we are talking about your life.

OH: Yes. What was the question? [Laughter.]

H: It was kind of a long question. With all of the changes that have occurred with
the tribe's economic activities, when you look back thirty years ago, how has this
changed your life?

OH: Oh, okay. Well, it definitely has made things a lot easier.

H: How so?

OH: With the per capital dividends and that type of stuff it has made life a little bit
easier. I see the good and I see the bad in that.

H: Can you elaborate on the good and the bad?

OH: Well, like I said, I have largely worked off the reservation, but just the three years
I have been here I have noticed that the youth are not wanting to really work as
hard as they might have had they not gotten their dividends and all. Before, they
had to, and now it is like, well, I will if I feel like it. Somewhere along the way that

Polly Osceola Hayes
Page 16

part of it seems to have lost it. I would like to see kids go ahead and not rely on
that and say, I need to go ahead and get my education because it is not always
going to be there. This is just a supplement. But I see a lot of our youth rely on
that, solely. I try to teach my grandkids, I tell them, you do not just rely on that.
You deposit it and put it in the bank. As long as you get your education, you will
always have that. You do not know that this thing is ever going to continue. You
do not know if it is going to continue for the next two or three years. I guess that
is what I see, where they would have been more aggressive and saying, I am
going to really get out there and get my education. It is sort of like, well, I am
okay. I do not really need it. I will have this to fall back on. But I guess it is like
that everywhere, though, [in the] outside world. If you make life too easy for the
kids, they do not want to work as hard.

H: Do you think that was part of the reason there were so few people involved with
the 4-H? As you mentioned, there were just a few kids, and now you have
increased the enrollment. How have you done that? How have you changed
their attitudes?

OH: Just by talking to them, like I said. I noticed that we would start losing interest
with our kids when they got to the teenage stage. When they got up to about
fifteen or sixteen, they would start dropping out and going somewhere else. So I
said, well, we are losing them at the end, so we are going to have to start with
the younger ones. Let's start with the younger ones and let's talk to them. We
talked to them and kind of changed their thoughts and ideas and hope that they
will kind of just stay and just go with the 4-H as long as they can. Maybe we
have a chance in talking to these little kids, where these other ones, when I got
here they had already started losing interest in 4-H. So, I guess that is all. I
have tried to talk to little ones hoping that we can do things to make them really
be enthused about the public speaking, and we have been trying to get them to
get up and do some demonstrations and talk a little bit more effectively and all
this type of stuff. I hope we can keep them going.

H: What kinds of things are you coming up with? You are essentially not trying to
initiate new programs that would bring the teenagers back, you are just starting
with the young ones, and by the time they get to be teenagers they will be
inculcated with that?

OH: Right. That is what we are hoping. But the kids that are in there now, they are
all good kids.

H: What is your age range?

OH: 4-H dropped its age to five. The five [year olds] can only have lap animals, like
dogs, cats, rabbits, and that kind of stuff. We have kids that are five. And we

Polly Osceola Hayes
Page 17

have one graduating senior this year. She has been in 4-H all the way through,
so that is encouraging. She has been very helpful in speaking before our older
kids, senior 4-Hers. The others, our older 4-Hers, I would say they are from
fourteen to seventeen right now. There are not that many, but there are a few.
And, of course, they are into sports. There are lots of kids into sports.

H: Are they mostly involved in sports through the school, in Okeechobee?

OH: Yes. We have a lot of kids that are very good in sports.

H: Well, I thank you very much for your time, Polly.

OH: All right. I hope I helped in some way.

H: Definitely, in many ways. I always like to ask, if there is something that I have
not asked you about that you would like us to know about, please feel free to
speak about that.

OH: Not really. I cannot think of anything. I think you have pretty much covered what
I could answer.

H: Thank you, again.

OH: Thank you.

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