I am a proud 4-H alumna.
If you don't know what that is, 4-H is an organization that promotes development in youth from 4th grade to seniors in high school. The four H's stand for head, heart, hands, and health. Throughout my nine years as a 4-H'er, I would attend monthly meetings throughout the year, set goals of self-development in multiple project areas, and spend a lot of time preparing for the county and state fair each year.
The 4-H motto is, "to make the best better". I was an active member—volunteering for committees, signing up for all the project areas, setting many goals to learn and create exhibits for the country fair, and training my dog and livestock throughout the year in preparation for the county fair. I have many fond memories from community service projects with my 4-H club, from the annual fair-booth decorating days, from the days that I won ribbons and trophies not only at the county fair but at the state fair as well.
4-H was my life. I graduated high school and left my 4-H "career" behind me, and I have been building my professional career as an adult. I am realizing that many of the things I learned through 4-H have since helped me achieve much of the goals I have set for myself now. I am thankful for the experiences I had in 4-H, and the solid foundation it gave me for life.
I learned how to be a leader.
Throughout my time in 4-H, not only did I hold official leadership positions in my club by being elected historian, secretary, vice-president, and president, but I also stepped up in leadership by creating projects to engage and involve other 4-Hers within my club in setting goals for their different project areas. These experiences helped me realize that I am able to speak up for what I believe in and help others achieve their goals.
I learned how to communicate.
Each year, our 4-H club had requirements for each member to give a presentation. Through this, I learned how to put words together to convey a thought for several minutes in front of a larger audience. As I became more experienced, I signed up to compete at the county and state fair through communication exhibits. Communicating through competitions allowed me to create PowerPoints and learn how to communicate through spoken and written word together.
I learned how to set goals.
One of the most important things I learned through 4-H was the art of setting goals. A goal is a result and the defined action and time-frame you intend on achieving said result. Whenever an exhibit was taken to county fair, each one had to be accompanied by a write-up of five questions (What was my goal? How did I go about my goal? What was the most important thing I learned? What was the cost?) that allowed me to always be setting goals to learn and achieve new things.