Michigan 4-H State Award Spotlight: Alexis Fisher

Alexis Fisher has been recognized as an outstanding 4-H member in the Michigan 4-H State Awards Program.

4-H member and Michigan 4-H State Awards Program winner Alexis Fisher posing for a photo.

Alexis Fisher is 19 years-old and in her twelfth year in the Michigan 4-H program. She is currently involved in two district clubs and a long-standing member of the Small Animal Association, Teen Ambassadors and New Horizons. Alexis has also served on the Youth Leadership Board and Monroe County 4-H Council. She has shown rabbits for eleven years, cavies for six years and pocket pets for nine years. Alexis also participates in many static projects and communication projects. Her greatest 4-H accomplishments are winning the Grand Champion Small Animal Sweepstakes and Overall Master Stockman.

Outside of 4-H, Alexis is currently pursuing a psychology degree at the University of Michigan. She has received university honors for four semesters and was presented with the William J. Branstrom Freshman Award for being in the top five percent of her class. She also became a James B. Angell Scholar for two or more consecutive terms of all A’s. In 2022, Alexis won the senior Michigan 4-H State Award for Rabbit and Cavy Science.

A Michigan 4-H State Award is the highest honor bestowed on a Michigan 4-H member and provides an opportunity to receive recognition for their engagement in rich learning experiences that result in outstanding knowledge and life-skill development. State award applications are divided into four categories: Mark of Excellence contest (11-12 years old), junior state award (13-15 years old), senior state award (16-19 years old) and group awards (13-19 years old).

“4-H has given me so much over the past 12 years and I may not be able to pay it all back, but I will definitely pay it forward,” said Alexis. “There are things that I have had the opportunity to experience and learn that I never would have been able to if I was not in the program. Both leaders and members have helped to shape my 4-H life into what it is today, and I am forever grateful.”

In 2022, Michigan State University Extension recognized outstanding 4-H members in the Michigan 4-H State Awards Program during the opening session of 4-H Exploration Days on June 22. Learn more about winner, Alexis Fisher.

How did you become involved in 4-H?

My mother and grandmother are 4-H alumni so 4-H is a very important part of our family. 4-H has always been a part of my life and I started as an Explorer at a very young age. I also have a younger brother in 4-H and my goal is to inspire him to grow and challenge him to be better.

What other projects have you participated in outside your award area?

In addition to the small animal project area, I also participate in many other project areas at the fair and Spring Achievement. Some of my favorite craft projects are robotics, glass etching, drawing and poetry. Every year I add a project that I haven’t done before so that I get the opportunity to try something new.

One of my favorite project areas is communications. I am involved in almost all of the communication projects, but my favorite ones are extemporaneous, talent showcase, essay writing and presentation, and modeling. I have made it a goal to try every communications category at least once and pushing myself to do this has brought me to find some of my favorite project areas.

What are some skills you’ve learned in 4-H?

With the help of leaders and mentors, I learned how to care for my rabbit, tips and tricks on how to prepare for show, and all of the steps and questions involved in showmanship. I believe I have grown a great deal since my early years in 4-H and I have become a better speaker. Learning the skill of performing in front of a group also ties in with the skill of exhibiting confidence. Being confident in what you do makes it easier to speak and present.

I have also learned how to schedule and manage time efficiently as a member of two district clubs, Teen Ambassadors and the Small Animal Association. Additionally, I have served on the Youth Leadership Board and Monroe County 4-H Council. Time management is important to be able to balance 4-H with my college course load at the University of Michigan.

4-H has taught me how to be prepared for different challenges both in 4-H and in life. Being able to respond quickly and have the knowledge to back up the response is important when speaking to judges during shows, giving presentations with question-and-answer sessions and interviews during fair.

How has 4-H helped you grow as a leader?

Being in 4-H has helped me become a stronger leader and it has given me the confidence to take on more leadership roles in the future. Some of the leadership roles I have taken on are officer positions for my district clubs such as vice president and president. Another way that I have become a better leader is learning to be a good mentor. It was my club leaders and mentors that taught me everything I know about small animals and other project areas. Now that I am in the position to be a mentor, I am happy to pass on my knowledge to the next generation of leaders.

I have learned that when you succeed you win as a team and when you fail you also do so as a team. Through 4-H, I now know that failure should not affect me negatively because it opens doors of opportunity to learn, grow and become better at what I do. Everyone enjoys winning what they are competing for but sometimes it is more about the learning experience than it is whether you win or lose.

What are some ways you give back to your community through 4-H?

I give back to my community through service projects and mentoring. My favorite community service project I have done so far in my 4-H career is making salsa for the local firefighters. Another service project that I enjoyed was making toys and blankets and collecting supplies for the local humane society and animal shelter. I also use the skills that I have gained by being a mentor in 4-H by mentoring in my school district’s robotics program.

My favorite part about being in 4-H is getting to mentor young children in the program and passing down knowledge and experience to help others. I have done this by teaching rabbit showmanship classes, helping others prepare for Sweepstakes, and using community service to spread the word about 4-H. I enjoy not only giving back to the 4-H program, but to everyone in my community.

What unique opportunities have you had through 4-H?

My involvement on the county level has consisted of being on the executive board for the Small Animal Association, a member of Youth Leadership Board, representative for Council, Teen Ambassadors and New Horizons. When I was 14 years-old, I won the overall Grand Champion Rabbit Showman at the Monroe County Fair, which earned me a spot in the Small Animal Sweepstakes competition. I ended up winning the Small Animal Sweepstakes Showmanship competition, and it is now one of my proudest accomplishments.

For the past five years, I have been a part of the Small Animal Association and get to help make important decisions that affect all the different small animal areas. Since I was elected to the executive board of the Small Animal Association, I also became a part of Monroe County’s Youth Leadership Board which consisted of all of the county’s youth leaders.

How has your 4-H involvement influenced your future plans?

I have just completed my sophomore year at the University of Michigan where I am pursuing a degree in psychology. I plan on completing my degree in psychology, earning a graduate degree, and utilizing the skills obtained through 4-H for college and my professional career.

Did you find this article useful?