Lessons 4-H Has Taught Me
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Politics and Activism

Lessons 4-H Has Taught Me

The amazing 4-H organization and things I've learned through it has grown me into the person I am today.

Lessons 4-H Has Taught Me
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As a proud former 4-H'er and current 4-H leader, I owe a great deal of who I am to the experiences and lessons I've learned through my time spent in this amazing organization. It's helped to grow me into the person I am today, and for that I am truly grateful. These are the most important lessons that I've learned all thanks to 4-H.

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- About Failure

One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn was about failure, and it came early on in my 4-H career. With two market swine to my name, my parents and I had tried to beat the learning curve to have a successful first year. Throughout all of the hard work that was not knowing much about pigs or 4-H or really knowing anyone in the club, the sunshine came in the form of an awesome pig that we called Pete. He was to this day, the best fair pig I have ever raised. He had an amazing temperament, listened, and was incredibly friendly. He was a first-year 4-H'er's dream...except the fact that he got sick and ended up not making weight. It was a lesson that I didn't forget, but ultimately, I learned more than I could have ever imagined from that first year about things like animal management and about life.

Sometimes, the things you have hoped for may not happen right away or the way you expect, but I learned that I had to start again, knowing more and as a stronger person because of the moments of defeat. I have had many times when I fell short, but each time, I learned from it and became a stronger person because of it.

-About Successes Thanks to Hard Work

Who would've guessed that I would've gone on then to accomplish some of my most amazing feats, and that my dad and I, the new member and parent who knew very little about 4-H or livestock would go on to become the swine leaders for our club? It's really funny how things work out.

The 4-H organization gave me a voice and a goal, actually it gave me many goals: serving in an office on the county council, being my club's president, raising and halter-breaking my own lambs, competing on the state level and placing second for public speaking and talent, winning the Overall Outstanding 4-H'er awards for my state and county, and so many others. I accomplished all of these too. Sure, there are things that I am still working on (eventually becoming a key leader for a club or serving on the Fair Board) and things that I wasn't able to do (I never got to serve on State Council or go to National Congress or raise a steer), but I learned that these things are definitely not impossible. I started my career later than most at age 12, having not been exposed to the program or the people, but the 4-H organization gave me this opportunity to shine that I am forever grateful for. I was able to accomplish my dreams thanks to some hard work and help along the way. Amazing opportunities I never would've thought possible before I joined were immediately made possible if I was willing to work for it.

- About How to Develop Strong Character

4-H has helped me to become the person I am today. Through livestock and leadership projects and each thing in between, I have learned the importance of being dependable. I don't think that I could've learned this lesson any better. A living, breathing animal depends on you for life. It's kind of daunting but exciting really. There is no choice but work hard if you want to accomplish anything. It taught me how to work against adversity. Ultimately, 4-H has grown me.

-About the Importance of Agriculture

As someone who hadn't been exposed to the industry aside from a backyard chicken coop that I took care of, 4-H is what caused me to become passionate about livestock and agriculture. While there is so much more to the organization, it is still the backbone of the program especially in my county. Without 4-H, I never would've uncovered this love and passion that I have. It's the industry that clothes and feeds us, so its importance is strong today as ever. 4-H gives youth the ability to connect with this industry.

- About Loss

The past few years have been difficult in the fact that two friends of mine that I knew through 4-H have sadly passed away through no control of their own, and it has taken a toll on my 4-H community because of their losses. They were both amazing, beautiful people who were gone too soon it seems. However, I learned from their losses how a community can come together. The 4-H relationships I have made have become more like a "4-H Family," because the outpouring of support was unreal. An incredibly tough lesson to learn and one that comes with a lot of heart break, my time in 4-H taught me that our time on earth is a precious gift. I learned to try and live as someone to be looked up to thanks to their examples.

- About The Importance of Giving Back

I'm so passionate about 4-H because I want other youth to be able to have the same opportunities. This has been one the most valuable experiences of my life, and it's totally possible for other youth to experience these with a little (okay, a lot) or hard work. In the end, it is so worth it to work hard. I'm a testimony to that. My life was forever changed thanks to 4-H, and I want the program to continue changing lives so I advocate for the organization, knowing that I can help others feel the same highs and formative lows I've experienced. That's why I immediately signed up to be a leader when I went off to college.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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