The term “4-H” was an organization that I had heard about for many years. I knew the name, but I didn’t really know what it was. Around five years ago my mom saw an advertisement for a 4-H club called Bad to the Bone. This club showed dogs. I decided to go to a meeting and at least see what it was about. I went, and from then on, I have been all about 4-H. Two years after I started 4-H I made a hard decision to switch to another club, Great Goats and More. This is where my 4-H journey really started.
In this club I was exposed to so much more and I got to know about all the other events in 4-H, such as the Food and Nutrition show, public speaking, and state-wide events. I knew that other clubs were organized differently than ours was, but I soon realized the clubs had a president and other officers. I was not new to Robert’s rules as I was in the National Junior Honor Society at my school. These last few years that I have been in 4-H have impacted my life very much. I always knew that I had leadership qualities, but I have gained more leadership qualities, I have built lifelong friendships, I have had so much fun, and made so many lifelong memories. I can speak in front of people. I speak clearly and loudly. I have grown as a person, I am more confident.
In 4-H you are given many chances to lead a group. These opportunities have improved my leadership abilities a lot. I can use what I have learned and experienced not only in 4-H but also in my life. I have used what I learned in 4-H to be a better leader. I learned to listen to people. Since my leadership and citizenship abilities have grown I have been elected to positions that I know I would not have reached otherwise. I have learned to reach out to the quiet members and get them involved in making club decisions. I have also been able to go to programs I never thought possible like the Teen Leadership Forum. The only problem was that I wanted to grow my leadership abilities but there were not many more events in my state I was interested in where I could do this. So, I thought back and realized I could apply for this trip. Although I consider myself a pretty good leader there are things that I could improve. I need to work on delegating jobs. I normally get very stressed out when I plan larger events. I have realized that when I delegate jobs my stress level reduces. I used to be not very good about listening to other’s opinions and acting on them. Through a lot of practice I have gotten much better at this.
When I first joined Great Goats and More I knew that I wanted to be an officer. I knew that I could not do that right away. I needed to prove to my new club that I could do it. So, I set little goals like attending all meetings, volunteering for different activities, volunteering for different games, helping the younger kids get involved and attending other 4-H events. By reaching those goals I was elected vice president in that club and secretary in Canine Commanders.
4-H has impacted my life in many ways. I have learned to speak out, voice my opinion, to acknowledge every person has a different personality and to work among them. I have also learned to show my dog, better take care of my dog, and I have learned many things about other animals that I did not know. Before I started 4-H, I was not someone who always spoke out and expressed their opinion. I only did this sometimes; now I express my opinion whenever I think it is necessary or helpful. I also do this very kindly. I also learned that everyone has a different personality and sometimes people clash because of this. Through 4-H, I have learned to lead meetings and events successfully without a clash breaking out. Five years ago, I knew that showing dogs existed, but I never really thought that I could do it. When I started 4-H I learned to show my dog. Together my dog, Petey and I have placed multiple events, and even went to the Big E! Through showing my dog, I have learned to better take care of him such as trimming the fur under his paws and brushing his teeth more often. Since I started to go to Great Goats and More meetings I have learned that yak fur is called fiber and how to show rabbits.
The skills, knowledge, and leadership that I learn in 4-H will and have benefitted me and others. I have learned several skills. One being to take better care of animals especially dogs. I am more responsible in feeding, exercising and grooming my dog. When I have a family, I will be able to take extremely good care of the family pets and teach the other members to do so as well. I have gained a lot of knowledge in 4-H. I have learned how to be respectful towards others, listen to others and I have learned from my leaders how to handle the different personalities people have. I have also learned that staying true to your values and morals is extremely important. If people don’t like you or don’t appreciate you for these morals than that’s okay. I have become a leader, not a follower. I can make decisions for myself and not give in to peer pressure. As a leader, I have learned that every situation varies and must be handled differently. This has helped to prepare me for different experiences that I may come to in my life outside of 4-H.
Overall in the last four to five years; 4-H has been a large part of my life. I would not be the person I am today and would not be the person I will be tomorrow. 4-H has affected every aspect of my life from my personality, morals, friends, decisions and everything else.
By Chelsea Weimer