Youth report that 4-H impacts in their lives

4-H’ers share their thoughts about 4-H in their 4-H Mark of Excellence essays.

Each year Michigan 4-H members between the ages of 11 and 12 are encouraged to write an essay entitled, “Because of 4-H I can….”  Counties can submit up to two essays to receive recognition on the state level of     4-H.  For 2014 Branch County 4-H members, Asya Modert and Bryan Foote, wrote essays that were chosen to represent Branch County in the awards program.  The words of these young people are the best way to explain how 4-H impacts their lives. Michigan State University Extension will share their stories.

Asya essay included:
“Because of 4-H I can learn and grow.  Over my three years in 4-H I have learned to be more responsible and how to care for my animals.  I have also learned how to manage my time when it comes to my other projects and getting them done on time.  4-H has given me the confidence that I probably wouldn’t have if I wasn’t involved.  All of these things will help me as I continue to grow.  I have learned that I can take on more livestock projects and how to budget the money when it comes in to help care for them.  4-H has made a big impact on my life.  Now I know that I can try something new and give it a hundred percent and not be afraid if I’m not the best because practice is what makes the best better.  I want everyone to know what 4-H can do for them. I gained so much confidence that I was junior secretary and junior president of my club.  I now serve on our county’s leaders’ council. I have already started thinking of career plans, what I want to be and where I want to go.  If you were wondering I want to be a veterinarian and attend Michigan State University.  I already have my plans to reach my goals and 4-H is a part of my plan.  Some may say those animals look like a lot of work and to them I say  ‘it’s work, your right, but it’s also how I make new friends, have fun and learn great life experiences.’  One day I hope to change the world through 4-H; I can and will do this.”

Bryan’s essay shares similarities with Asya:
“Because of 4-H I can now improve upon many life skills that will help me grow and become a compassionate, responsible and respectful adult. 4-H has taught me this in several ways from participating in community service projects, attending area workshops and completing my craft projects. One of the many reasons that I joined 4-H was because of the community involvement and strong family values. With me being an only child, I feel like I have a large extended family with many brothers and sisters. I have really enjoyed the community service projects that my clubs have participated in. One of my favorite community projects was the Bronson Sportsman Dinner where my club helped prepare different types of wildlife dishes and helped with the set up and cleanup of the event. By participating in this community service event it taught me not to be afraid to sample different types of wild game dishes and secondly, being that just because I’m younger I can still help out and make a difference in my community.

My projects that I have completed over the past three years have taught me a great deal of life skills. The Lego kits, taxidermy mounts, woodworking and color-pencil drawings all have increased my critical thinking skills, self-confidence, organizational skills, time management and patience. All of these life skills that I have learned I have used in school and while playing sports. When I have self-confidence and a positive attitude I can then spread it throughout my classroom and my team which makes learning much more entertaining and winning a lot more fun. I can remember one day while I was doing a craft project at a club meeting I was having a lot of difficulty getting my project to look just right. One of my leaders told me she had a lot of faith and confidence in me and to just take a big deep breath and close my eyes for a few seconds to relax. I will always remember this  advice she gave me when I’m struggling with a difficult math problem or when I’m on the pitching mound pitching for my baseball team trying to get that final strike out of the inning.

4-H has taught me so much about the importance of having strong family values, life skills and the importance of being active role model in my community. Through many 4-H activities and events I have learned many skills and have built many memories with my personal family and my 4-H family. So because of 4-H I can I can share and teach the important life skills that I have learned to those that are younger than I am by setting an example and being a role model for them.”

Youth interested in participating and having similar experiences to Asya and Bryan can visit the Michigan 4-H website, or contact their local MSU Extension office.

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