Youth share importance of 4-H in their lives

College scholarship applicants write about how 4-H has benefited them.

As high school seniors start the home stretch of their school career, they may be beginning to take a look back at their lives so far and evaluate it. Michigan State University Extension suggests reflecting on what has impacted their lives in their first 18 years. Can they point to anything that has played a major role in their development? College applications and scholarship applications help solidify their notions of what have been the most important experiences. The applications can be enlightening for youth development workers as well as students in the organization’s evaluation process.

Two Michigan 4-H members from Branch County reflected and answered the question: “How has your 4-H experience helped prepare you for the next 10 years of your life.”

Thomas, an 18-year-old 10 year 4-H member said, “Being a part of the Branch County 4-H has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have learned so many things through my 4-H career. I have also met so many new people from all over the U.S. The friendships I have made during 4-H will last forever. It has definitely helped me shape myself into who I am. It has also helped shape my future too,” he said. “I plan to get my kids started in 4-H because I feel that all young people in America should be involved in this amazing program. I hope that my kids will get as much out of 4-H as I have. I am really looking forward to watching my kids grow up through 4-H just like most of you have watched me grow up through 4-H.  I would not have given my time and experiences in 4-H for anything else that could have been offered to me.

I feel that I am ready to take on and accomplish all of the life goals I have set for myself in the next 10 years. That being said I owe my feeling ready to take the goals mostly to 4-H. It has taught me how to work hard to get what I want. It has also taught me if the going gets rough not to give up. You can always find a way to turn things around. I am so grateful for 4-H. I am ready for the next 10 years of my life thanks to 4-H.

Abbigail, an 18-year-old, 11 year 4-H members said, “I will be attending Central Michigan University (CMU) in the fall of 2013. At CMU, I will be a member of the Honors Community, an award given to only 200 students out of nearly 10,000 incoming freshmen. I will have the unique opportunity to take part in honors courses and activities as I continue my education. I plan to utilize my skills and talents to build a career that I am both passionate about and where I can positively impact others and society.”

“4-H has played a huge role in my life. It has given me the experiences and life lessons that have prepared me for the next 10 years of my life and beyond. Through volunteer work such as being a 4-H Friends Day Camp Counselor and the Proud Equestrian Program, I have learned the importance of being a good role model. I have had eye-opening experiences that have led me to realize the responsibility that I have to help those in need. Community service projects within my club, such as roadside pickup and donating time and gifts to provide Christmas to less fortunate families has helped me learn to be conscious of the world around me. It has taught me how important it is to give back to help others within my own community. I have learned multiple other life skills through my numerous craft, home economics and livestock projects during my years in 4-H. 4-H has taught me leadership, commitment, hard work, dedication, respect, responsibility and the list goes on and on. Through 4-H I have also been provided with many opportunities to use and further develop my skills.

Most importantly, 4-H has taught me to never settle for less than my best, and to keep working towards that goal even when it seems unreachable. I have also learned the value of trying to do new things and taking chances. All of these extremely important life lessons have helped to prepare me for the next chapter in my life. I am so very thankful to be part of a program that has done so much to positively impact my life and prepare for the next 10 years in so many ways.”

Youth interested in joining 4-H to participate and gain similar experiences as Thomas and Abbigail can visit the MSU Extension website, or the Michigan 4-H website for more information.

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