Michigan 4-H State Award Spotlight: Brandon Fisher
Brandon Fisher has been recognized as an outstanding 4-H member in the Michigan 4-H State Awards Program.
Brandon Fisher is 15 years-old and in his ninth year in the Michigan 4-H program. As a member of the Monroe County 4-H program, Brandon is involved in small animals where he shows rabbits, cavies and pocket pets. He has also competed in many 4-H robotics projects and was involved with a 4-H group called iClover Robotics. Brandon is a part of the Small Animal Executive Board, Teen Ambassadors, New Horizons, and two district clubs. His greatest accomplishment is winning the Small Animal Showmanship Sweepstakes and Master Stockman. In 2022, Brandon won the junior Michigan 4-H State Award for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Most recently, he won the 2023 junior 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 essay 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).
“Throughout my 4-H career, I have learned how to work hard to be prepared for different challenges,” said Brandon. “The skills that I have attained through 4-H have helped me in school and will help me in life when I start my career. My goal is to make an impact on the world and create something that will change the way we currently work for the better. I know that my involvement in 4-H will help to make this goal possible.”
In 2023, Michigan State University Extension recognized outstanding 4-H members in the Michigan 4-H State Awards Program following the opening session of 4-H Exploration Days on June 21. Learn more about winner, Brandon Fisher.
How did you become involved in 4-H?
My family has always been involved in 4-H and it started with my grandma and my mom being 4-H members. I have been going to 4-H activities since I was a little kid because my older sister is also involved in 4-H.
What other projects have you participated in outside your award area?
I have participated in the 4-H communications project, and I am now able to get up and speak in front of a group of people. My sister helped me gain confidence with my first communications project and because of her, I now try a new communications project each year. It has become one of my favorite project areas.
Another project outside of my award area was a small engine project. I tore down and put back together a broken chainsaw. I was able to speak with the judge about how I completed my project and showed him the chainsaw running.
What are some skills you’ve learned in 4-H?
One of the most valuable skills I have learned in 4-H and participating in the STEM field is how to work with confidence. Another important skill that I have learned and use in both 4-H and my robotics team is how to accurately gather and keep track of all the different aspects that goes into building a robot.
One of the most valuable skills I have learned participating in the rabbit and cavy science area is how to speak and work with confidence. It is important to have confidence when giving presentations and when speaking to others in a large group or one on one. I have participated in many presentations about small animals for my 4-H clubs, and workshops for the Small Animal Board. I have also used this communication skill in school for presentations in front of my teachers and peers. Being able to speak with confidence is necessary when showing small animals because the judges will ask questions that must be answered confidently to show the animal science knowledge.
Another life skill I’ve learned is self-responsibility. Having animals and taking care of them has taught me to be responsible. It is also my responsibility to make sure all my animals stay healthy. If my animals do get sick, I need to be able to care for them or get the help they need.
Lastly, a skill I’ve learned in 4-H is problem solving. I use this skill in every aspect of being the mechanical build lead on my robotics team. If there is something wrong with the robot or if it breaks between competitions, I must be able to problem solve to figure out and fix the issue.
How has 4-H helped you grow as a leader?
4-H and robotics has helped me be a leader and mentor to others interested in the STEM field. Teaching classes to 4-H members and mentoring two younger robotics teams has been important to me to be able to pass on my love of STEM. My hope is that I can teach members all they need to know about STEM and robotics. In addition, I hope they grow to love STEM and robotics and they will one day be a mentor to someone else.
Also, 4-H helped me grow as a leader by helping me build confidence in speaking and running meetings. I have learned the correct way to run a meeting using the parliamentary procedure. It has also taught me responsibility because I am expected to attend all the meetings and participate as a leader in the club.
Being a part of 4-H has helped to make me the person I am today. I have had great mentors and club leaders to help me along the way. Now I am a mentor to the younger members so I can help them along their way.
What are some ways you give back to your community through 4-H?
One district 4-H club I am in is all about community service. We have done many community service projects, including making salsa for firefighters, putting together Easter baskets for foster kids, hospice care kits and many more. One of my favorite projects is collecting supplies and making blankets and toys for the local humane society. We even get to visit the humane society and play with the animals.
Another of my favorite ways to give back to my community through 4-H is going to visit the local assisted living senior home in my community. We have made residents cards, played bingo, and went caroling. Another way I give back to my community is by collecting food, supplies, and making toys and blankets for our local humane society.
What unique opportunities/experiences have you had through 4-H?
I have had the opportunity to participate in welding, electrical and communications. I even won a Michigan State Gold Ribbon for one of my electrical projects. Another experience I have had is being able to represent Monroe County as the 4-H Prince. It was a great accomplishment to be named Monroe County Prince and I was able to be a part of the leadership group that attended and helped out at all of the 4-H activities. Lastly, I was able to lead a class on building and programming a robot during my Club Expo.
How has your 4-H involvement influenced your future plans?
Throughout my 4-H career, I have learned how to work hard to be prepared for different challenges. After my 4-H career, I plan on pursuing a career in the STEM field, specifically mechanical engineering. The skills that I have attained through 4-H have helped me in school and will help me in life when I start my career.