Ten years of my life will remain among the most memorable until the day I die. That’s quite a statement; but I can assure you it’s one that will always be with me. Those 10 years were my years spent as a 4-H member.
I can confidently give the National 4-H program credit for transforming me into the individual I am today. In honor of National 4-H week, I’d like to take some time to share with you some experiences and introduce you to some individuals that are not only 4-H leaders, but folks I call my friends to this day.
If you can’t tell through my blogging, my 4-H career was centered around the livestock industry. I was first led to our local 4-H horse club through my barrel racing hobby. My love for the equine industry grew and competition level excelled through the program. With the motivation from an amazing 4-H extension Agent (Stacey Ramming-Potts) and outstanding leader (Becky Fischer) I broadened my horizons from local judging and showing competitions to the state and even national levels. I’m proud to say that many state and national titles were achieved under the guidance of these two outstanding individuals.
Though I could have probably consumed my entire career with equine events, thanks to my mom and dad that wasn’t the case. 4-H gave me the opportunity to participate in other livestock events, like judging and showing feeder steers. No 4-H career is complete without the dreaded speaking and demonstration contests, I reluctantly competed in these too. I have to give my high school Ag teacher Susan Zoglmann credit for not only keeping my involvement steady but pushing me in new 4-H directions. Susan encouraged me to participate in many 4-H leadership conferences while she led our high school Ag club. Susan taught her 4-H’ers to live by the saying “The world is your cow, milk her for all she’s worth” and she meant it.These are just a few ways the 4-H program helped prepare me for college, grad school and my current career. These contests prepared me for life in ways not taught in the classroom or even by the greatest school teacher. My leaders were teachers in their own sense.
4-H taught me to follows my dreams and to set my goals high. Whether it was public speaking, livestock judging or showing, without this great organization I wouldn’t be where I am today. The 4-H program helped me find my passions, follow my dreams and taught me to hold my head up high while standing up for my morals, values and beliefs.
In closing I want to share with you a pledge that I’ll never forget. I learned this pledge when I was 9 years old. This is what 4-H is about.
“I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
My health to better living,
For my club, my community, my country and my world.”
Thank you 4-H!