Head, Heart, Hands & Health
“I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
my heart to greater loyalty,
my hands to larger service
and my health for better living for my club,
my community, my country and my world”
The only things throughout my younger years that I was okay with memorizing…
4-H; it shaped my life, made me the person I am today and introduced me to some of the most important people in my life.
What is 4-H?
4-H is a non-profit organization that is geared towards youth ages 8 to 18. 4-H is a ‘learning by doing’ program. Everything you learn, you learn hands on. There are programs for EVERYONE ranging from craft projects to livestock projects. Anything you can think of, participate in, or have a hobby for… 4-H has that program and can help you strengthen your knowledge of that certain thing. Through 4-H you learn leadership roles and public speaking and their core elements are being career ready!
I have been fortunate enough to be raised in a family where the agriculture industry played a huge role in our lives. I am a 4th generation (yes, 4TH GENERATION… I am so proud to say that) 4-H member, my great-grandfather (My Daddaddy – forever missing that amazing man) participated in 4-H and showed cattle when he was a young boy and so did my grandfather, aunts, uncles and cousins in Montgomery and Frederick County. And now, my little brother and cousins are in 4-H so helping and watching them is one of my favorite things to do on the weekends.
When I first started participating in 4-H and showing cattle, I was a very shy little girl. I was terrified to talk to people and handling those 1300-pound cattle was not easy. There were many things that I quit doing when I was younger like t-ball and ballet but my parents never let me quit 4-H and I am SO grateful for that. Why? 4-H showed me what responsibility is. I had a living thing (cow) trusting ME to take care of it; it’s like having a child. Through 4-H and showing livestock, I had many opportunities like traveling to cattle shows all over the east coast and in Kentucky, Colorado and Wisconsin, holding leadership roles which have now made me super confident in all aspects of my life, building a resume (because all of us working people know how important a resume is if you want to land that dream job) and winning scholarships at a super young age (I paid for one semester of college through scholarships; may not seem like a lot but it is a lot to me). 4-H is not just about livestock, even though some may think that; when I was a 4-H member I also participated in the craft, sewing, photography and cooking projects. Participating in these projects were ways for me to make memories I will never forget with my great-grandmother (Gaga) and Aunt Sissy. As you can see, 4-H keeps you busy but it will teach you skills that will be useful in your everyday life and make memories that will last a lifetime with people you’ll never forget.
If there is one thing I have taken away from being a 4-H member, it would have to be the friendships that I have made along the way. A 4-H friendship (and relationship a.k.a my boyfriend and I) is like no other and I know quite a few others that can agree with me. Having a friendship with others who have the same passion as you is unbreakable. Of course, there are disagreements along the way but there is nothing that can split a 4-H born friendship. I am so grateful for every person I have met through the 4-H program. When you graduate from high school, a lot of your friendships in school fade away because of college and growing up BUT 4-H friendships DO NOT fade away. I still talk and hang out with friends that I met in 4-H and those are the ones that I call my true friends.
One age I dreaded turning was 18, for the reason that I knew my years as a 4-H member were going to be coming to an end. Those 10 years flew by so quickly and I had no idea what I was going to do without 4-H but the summer I turned 18 the biggest and best opportunity arose…. An internship with the 4-H program that brought so much joy into my life for the past 10 years. It seemed like a dream but that dream turned into a reality and four years later I am still interning with Frederick County 4-H as their 4-H Extension Program Assistant. Through these 4 years I have learned so much more about 4-H that I had no idea existed when I was a member. I did not know the amount of work that it took to run the 4-H program. Through my internship, I also have had the opportunity to travel to elementary schools in Frederick County through the Agriculture Literacy Program to help promote the 4-H program and agriculture. Teaching youth about the importance of agriculture opened my eyes to a whole different perspective on life. I never really thought that there were people out there that knew nothing about where their food and clothing came from, most thought that it was just from stores. Through my time at the 4-H office I have taught over 6,000 youth in Frederick County through AG Literacy. In my own way I think of that number being the amount of lives that I have touched over my years as being the 4-H Extension Program Assistant.
After this internship is over I hope to continue to touch peoples lives with my knowledge of 4-H and the agriculture industry. I hope to make more people want to be apart of this program that touched my life in so many ways and I hope that more people become thankful for our farmers who work 24/7 to let us have the things we have on the daily, from food on our tables to clothes on our bodies.
GOD BLESS FARMERS, 4-H AND THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE!