Florida 4-H Alumni Spotlight: Sharon Spratt
OCCUPATION: Vice President of Governmental Affairs & Regulatory Compliance, Space Florida
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: County President, Leon Co. Farm Bureau; Leon Co. 4-H Club Leader; Vice Chair, UF/IFAS SHARE Council
COUNTY OF 4-H PARTICIPATION: Okeechobee
YEARS SPENT IN 4-H: 7
Sharon lives in Tallahassee on her farm with her husband Jim, their twins, and a menagerie of animals. She enjoys gardening, sewing, and horseback riding. When she has time she can be found curled up with a book.
What projects & activities did you do as a 4-H’er? Dairy, Beef Breeding, Market Steer, and Leadership.
What experiences did you have in 4-H you wouldn’t have otherwise had? Too many to name! But traveling the United States with dairy judging and quiz bowl teams are a highlight.
Who was one of the most influential people in your 4-H career, and why? My 4-H agent, Mrs. Debbie Clements. Mrs. Clements was the most devoted 4-H agent I’ve ever met. There was barely a night or weekend she couldn’t be found at a 4-H event—either in the county or across the state. Her dedication to her 4-Hers ensured that many Okeechobee youth had successful and meaningful 4-H careers that translated into successful educational and professional experiences. I would not be the person I am today without Mrs. Clements’ influence in my life.
How has 4-H changed your life? Before my involvement in 4-H I was a painfully shy little girl. I wanted to participate in so many things, but my inability to speak in public prevented it. My 4-H leaders and Mrs. Clements went above and beyond to work with me, encourage me, and teach me. It took a lot of effort on their part, but I eventually went on to take part in all the events and loved them. Even today, before every speaking event, I think of my 4-H experiences and that gives me any encouragement I need to do the job.
What would you tell a parent about why their child should join 4-H? There isn’t a single other youth organization in the world that can provide your child a comprehensive set of life skills while masquerading as fun. 4-H can truly pique the interest of any child, no matter what they are interested in.
What advice would you like to share with graduating 4-H’ers? Never forget where you came from. As you go through life your experiences will change you and shape you—but your time in 4-H has given you a strong foundation to build on. When the time comes don’t forget to keep making the best better by serving as a volunteer. You won’t ever regret it.
4-H: There isn’t a single other youth organization in the world that can provide your child a comprehensive set of life skills while masquerading as fun. —Sharon Spratt
Are you a 4-H alumnus or friend of the program as a volunteer, community advocate or a supportive parent? Subscribe to the Florida 4-H Alumni + Friends Community for news and updates. You can connect with 4-H locally through your Extension County Office, or contact Caylin Hilton at grow4H@ifas.ufl.edu or 352.392.5432.
4-H is the youth development program of the land-grant university and Cooperative Extension system. The program provides hands-on educational programs and experiences for youth ages 5-18 with the objective of developing young people as individuals and responsible citizens. 4-H empowers youth to be leaders in their communities today, and for the future. In Florida, 4-H is administered by UF/IFAS Extension and Florida A&M University.