Reflections from Graduating 4-H Seniors
One of the most important milestones in one’s life is completing their high school education. Such is the case for Trey and Savannah, two bright young Jackson County 4-H members who are graduating this month. Both youth were asked to reflect upon their 4-H experience and share their thoughts in this week’s blog post.
Trey joined 4-H six years ago and has been a member of the Jackson County 4-H Buckaroos Horse Club for two years. Trey is a homeschool student. He has competed in the 4-H Horse Project at the local, State and Regional levels and has also participated in community service events for Sunland and the Florida Sheriff’s Boys Ranch. He has competed in the District and State 4-H Horse Shows since 2014 and even qualified for the Regional Show last year. He will compete in the 2016 State Show in July.
Trey shares that he got involved in 4-H through a neighbor. When he joined, there wasn’t a horse club in Jackson County, so he participated in the Gadsden County 4-H Horse Club. He transferred his membership back to Jackson County when the 4-H Buckaroos horse club started a couple of years ago. When asked what he has learned through 4-H, Trey states:
“I have learned that 4-H is not just about horses and cattle. It’s about meeting new people and learning how to come together as a club and a family. Participating in 4-H has helped me to be more confident and has helped me overcome being shy and having trouble speaking in front of people. I definitely see myself coming back as a volunteer because I loved my 4-H experience and would like to see more kids have that same experience.”
Much of his positive experience in 4-H is a result of the relationships he has had with caring adult volunteers. “Mr. Terry Harris has helped me with everything that I can think of with my horse project. He and Mrs. Katricia Edenfield are not just 4-H volunteers to me, they are family and I love my 4-H family! I would like to add that I have had a great time in 4-H and it has helped me grow into the young man that I am today. I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to be in 4-H.”
Savannah is a member of the Jackson County 4-H Livestock club and joined 4-H two years ago. Savannah will graduate from Cottondale high school this month. Savannah has exhibited cattle, competed on 4-H livestock, poultry and meat judging teams, and has also been a member of the Jackson County 4-H Youth Council. She has attended 4-H University as a voting delegate and she also attended the inaugural 4-H Youth Teen Retreat held in February of this year.
Savannah got involved in 4-H after attended an Open House event in 2014. Although she has only been in 4-H two years, she says:
“4-H has taught me how to be a leader. I have been encouraged to believe in myself and to never give up. Being in 4-H has helped me to develop self-confidence and the ability to speak in front of people. I definitely want to come back to 4-H as a volunteer. 4-H is my second family. The volunteers in our 4-H Club have taught me to never give up and to always follow my dreams. They have helped me develop confidence in myself and the things that I can do. They have also taught me the value of teamwork and sportsmanship. When we win, we win together and when we lose, we lose together. 4-H helps kids to step out of their comfort zone and try new things. I am so very thankful for my 4-H club and leaders. I would not be where I am today without them.”
On behalf of the Northwest District 4-H Agents, we wish all of our graduating seniors the best. We thank you for your involvement in 4-H and invite you to join our 4-H Alumni Group. Later this month, we will share how graduating seniors can extend their 4-H experience through Collegiate 4-H. As you can see, 4-H has lots of opportunities to fuel the extraordinary efforts of young people so that they are prepared to face a complex and changing world. We strive to help youth develop life skills to prepare them to be productive members of the community and workforce. If you would like to get involved as a member, volunteer, advocate or even donor, please contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.