Reflections of a 4-H member: Josiah Bear

State Youth Leadership Council member Josiah Bear shares views on youth leadership and civic engagement.

Josiah Bear. Photo courtesy of Alex Schunk.
Josiah Bear. Photo courtesy of Alex Schunk.

Josiah Bear is a 19-year-old 4-H participant from Clare County, Michigan, who has been actively involved in several statewide 4-H leadership programs including the Michigan 4-H State Youth Leadership Council (SYLC) and 4-H Capitol Experience. Bear is currently attending his second year at Michigan State University. The following is a reflection of Bear’s experiences in those programs and the positive influence they have had on his life.

Jackie Martin (JM): Tell me about State Youth Leadership Council.

Josiah Bear (JB): State Youth Leadership Council is an elite team of 4-H’ers in Michigan that help solve problems facing Michigan 4-H today as we know it.

JM: What impact has your membership on State Youth Leadership Council had on your life?

JB: These experiences had a huge impact on my life. By being a part of State Youth Leadership Council, I have made great connections, memories and friends that I will always have, and helped shape some important issues in Michigan's 4-H program.

JM: What has been your biggest take away from your 4-H experiences?

JB: The connections I have not only made around the state, but around the country. I also treasure the times in which I was able to help younger youth move towards finding their passions in life.

JM: What other statewide or national 4-H programs have been especially meaningful for you? What difference did they make on your life as a whole?

JB: 4-H Capitol Experience has been especially meaningful to me and my development in leadership. Through Capitol Experience, I learned what kind of leader I am, as well as the best process I may take in order to help others succeed as leaders. I have also gained a great understanding of how youth can make a difference at any level of the government.

JM: You’re currently serving as the student intern for 4-H Capitol Experience. What are your responsibilities? Has that role had any impact on your future goals?

JB: As 4-H Capitol Experience's intern, my responsibilities include making contact with state legislators, lobbyists, government organizations and other major stakeholders around the state. This has lead me to pursue a degree in political science at Michigan State University.

JM: If you were to give an aspiring youth leader some advice, what would it be?

JB: If someone tells you you're not able to accomplish your dreams, show them you can, and be the best there ever was.

JM: Speaking of dreams, where do you go from here? What goals are you hoping to achieve in the next five or 10 years?

JB: I plan to graduate Michigan State University with bachelor’s degrees in political science and music. I then hope to start working in the state government and slowly move my way up to help as many people as possible. On the music side of my life, I hope I continue to love and enjoy playing trumpet and have opportunities to play on the big stages every now and then.

Bear is one of 26 members of the Michigan 4-H State Youth Leadership Council. State Youth Leadership Council members provide a youth voice for Michigan 4-H programs and participate in a variety of activities to help promote and improve 4-H programs.

This collection of articles features young leaders excelling in Michigan 4-H Youth Development programs hosted by Michigan State University Extension. Stay tuned for more articles featuring these fantastic young leaders.

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H youth programs, read our 2016 Impact Report: “Developing Civically Engaged Leaders.” For more information on the State Youth Leadership Council or for information on how to apply for the 2018 council, contact Jackie Martin at

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