It’s 4-H Week in Iowa! West Pott. Or East Pott., it does not matter, we are all celebrating an organization that truly makes the world a better place. We’ve all heard the comment of “Iowa Nice.” I still hold Iowa Nice still exists because 4-H exists! As everyone around here knows, I always say: you never see a 4-Her fail at life.
That said, I did some crowd-sourcing to see the legacy of 4-H beyond the 4-H Hall of Famers like Marilyn Mickey, Tom Trede, Don Applegate, Don Felton, Steve and Marge Piece, Darryl Busby, Nancy Hering, Dr. Jim Hoffman, Tom Pattee, Gary Nilan, and my very own parents, Bernie and Norma Bolton!
For those on the fence about 4-H, what follows are a few of the lifelong lessons that stick with 4-Hers.
Brianne Duede says she learned to speak at public meetings and do goal setting through 4-H that now serve her well in her job as city clerk of Carson. Delaney Carroll of Walnut echoes the same thoughts. She says thanks to her 4-H days, her presentations were voted the best multiple times in her college public speaking class because of her fluency, ability to think on her feet, and answer all sorts of questions! Scott Suhr, now with the Iowa DOT, concluded that 4-H is where he learned communication, a pretty important piece of his job now, as well.
Jami Sievers, formerly of Walnut, says she learned hard work, organization, and community service. She kept her animals at her grandparents’ acreage and in exchange, she would do work for them like mowing and plantings. Her sister, Stacey Sorensen of Walnut, agreed with Jami but also added in that taking care of her beef fur babies prepared her for being a mom and the responsibilities it entails, as well as the financial aspects of record keeping, maintaining a checking account, etc. Sharell Fritz of Oakland used to supervise the girls at Iowa State Fair and added that 4-H brought her a lifetime of friendships and experiences and voiced that there is no way to put a price tag on the life skills 4-H teaches. Speaking of friendships, Kevin Maas, is a friend I met at Area Council almost 30 years ago, and his response aptly was long-term planning. 4-H is always about the journey.
Time management was another topic discussed as Ann Carroll mentioned she learned to finish what she started and Mischa Martens said she learned to get things together even at the last minute with Lynelle Jeppesen agreeing completely. And organization fits right in with that as suggested by Amanda Bingham, formerly of Oakland.
Obviously, 4-H is close to my heart, and when I think of the role I now play with WIDA, it becomes very apparent why my daughter will be in 4-H. When you ask “Why 4-H?” The answers are endless. I realized it’s been 27 years since I cried my way out of Ak-Sar-Ben, my last 4-H cattle show, but the lessons are still affecting me.
27 years ago...
...I did projects and wrote the goals afterwards. Lol. Now, I write goals and follow through.
… I showed against other kids and got beat. I was jealous. Now, we are friends and I cheer for them in life.
… I got a whole lot of scholarships mostly because I wrote that I was in 4-H on my applications. Now, I have a master’s degree, too.
….I attended National 4-H Congress. Now, I still use my pizza cutter I got there. Lol.
…I learned parliamentary procedure. Now, I use it to conduct board meetings.
…I was showing calves. Now, I am teaching my daughter about them.
… I took a picture with my club. Now, they are my greatest network for getting things done in the community.
So if you wonder why your kid should do 4-H or why people in Iowa love 4-H, I can speak from experience and say simply, “there’s no better indicator of a successful future than wearing your green clover.”
Happy 4-H Week!