As we celebrate 4-H week, I can't help but think where 4-H has taken me, particularly across the country. I began my journey through 4-H at the age of 6, when I joined Clover Kids. In 3rd grade, I started attending 4-H meetings and had the opportunity to join a 4-H club from the very beginning. In 7th grade, I was leading the meetings, and in 12th grade I was leading the County Council meetings with peers in my local community. This timeline proves that 4-H gave me the opportunity to gain leadership positions at a very young age. 4-H also taught me how to set goals, work hard, manage time, talk with people, public speak, and other important life skills. A few of my best memories are not only with my friends from my hometown, but from around the state and around the world.
Livestock judging began very young, and I've constantly been evaluating animals. I have been blessed to have the coaches and a team that could take me to three different national contests. These allow me to gain experience judging, meet new people, and travel the country. In 2011, Washington County Judging Team was 3rd at the 4-H contest and went to the American Royal in Kansas City. 2012, we won the Iowa 4-H contest and went to Louisville, Kentucky. To round out my judging career, my FFA team won the state contest in 2013 and we went back to Louisville.
As judging took me to different contests, Iowa 4-H sent me to Atlanta, Georgia in 2012. Attending the National 4-H Congress was amazing to say the least. I met people from across the country, with all different backgrounds and living situations. The most respectful conversation I’ve ever been involved in was at dinner one night with a Catholic, a Southern Baptist, a Lutheran, and an Atheist. At that moment I realized how important it is to respect each other and how much you can learn from simply sharing stories and listening. There I also met Miss America 2012, Laura Kaeppeler, which was a dream come true.
4-H has had a huge impact in my life; I’m not sure where I’d be without it. Mostly, it’s brought great memories and great friends. Happy National 4-H Week, I highly suggest joining 4-H and once you do, Ihope your experience in 4-H is as great as mine was!
Southeast Iowa born. Ames living. College girl experiencing the real world.
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