Laingsburg youth takes unique approach to leadership

4-H proven to empower area youth through life skill development.

Nate Scovill at a lamb show.
Nate Scovill at a lamb show.

It’s no secret that today’s youth feel pressure. Pressure to excel in school, to go to college, to get a job, etc. How they overcome these pressures are a true testament to their character at a young age. Take Lainsburg native Nathan (Nate) Scovill for example.

Scovill, 16, credits his enrollment in Michigan 4-H, a program of Michigan State University Extension, with helping grow his confidence and leadership skills.

“My participation in 4-H began with raising and showing sheep and pigs, but today I’m also very involved in the leadership and mentorship side of 4-H,” Scovill says. “It’s rewarding to help kids see and reach their potential.”

Scovill’s mother and uncle were his first 4-H mentors, and he says the family involvement made the experience even more special. As mentors, they nudged him to take advantage of the breadth of programs 4-H offers, from science and agriculture to business and creative arts.

Although still in high school, he credits 4-H with helping him set his sights on a career path – he plans to study animal science at Michigan State University. His ultimate career goal is to become an animal nutritionist so he can support the well-being of animals. He says the leadership skills he learned in 4-H could one day help him achieve a scholarship.

America needs more true leaders focused on today’s challenges, as well as the issues of tomorrow. A recent survey by National 4-H Council found that 71 percent of today’s youth view leadership as something they can practice and improve over time. But those same youth need supportive adults to help them along the way.

4-H brings a community together to grow true leaders in today’s youth – helping build confidence, teamwork, curiosity, and resilience.

“4-H gave me unique experiences, like attending Exploration Days at Michigan State University to get an early glimpse of life on a college campus,” says Scovill. “Attending events like that allowed me to interact with 2,000 students from across the state. That really helped me open up to talking to new people and presenting myself well.”

Scovill wants students and their parents to know that 4-H opportunities extend far beyond raising and showing animals. “Even if they don’t have the room to have animals, they can get involved through photography or crafts – there are lots of unique ways to participate.”

Any child can grow with 4-H, an organization that has something for every interest. But 4-H is always looking for adult volunteers and funding to help expand their reach and empower young people through doing. For more information about Michigan 4-H programs and volunteering opportunities, visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

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