4-H shaped my life

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Ashley showing her Milking Shorthorn heifer in 4-H.

Every day I eat, sleep and breathe agriculture – it is what my world revolves around. There are many things that led me to my love for agriculture, but perhaps the most influential factor was my participation in 4-H. I enjoy reminiscing on my time in 4-H. In doing so, I have realized that my love for agriculture is only one of the many things I gained from this organization. I thought I would describe some of the wonderful gifts that 4-H gave me, just in case anyone needs any further convincing that 4-H is the right fit for a child in their life.

Perseverance

Some people learn by seeing, others learn by hearing. Me? I learn by doing, and I know I am not alone. The hands-on experience I got in 4-H taught me success is not guaranteed. However, every failure provides an opportunity for growth. By taking what I learn from every failure and applying it to my next attempt, I become much more likely to succeed. Eventually I fail enough and learn enough to achieve success. I believe a lack of perseverance stems directly from the fear of failure. It is so important to learn that failure is part of the process.

Self-Assurance

This really goes back to the hands-on experience. There is a horse trainer I follow on Facebook, and one of the primary things he is constantly preaching about is how a horse gains confidence purely by doing. It makes sense! The more you successfully do something, the more confident you become in your abilities to perform that task again.

Friends

A group of youth working together.

There is nothing that I enjoy more than being around people who love agriculture as much as I do. How could you not become fast friends with someone who loves the same things you do? Granted, agriculture is only one aspect to 4-H, so not everyone there will be involved in agriculture. However, as much as I love talking about agriculture, I also love listening to someone else talk about what they are passionate about! I learned that friendship isn’t strictly about sharing a passion, but also about listening, engaging and appreciating.

Agricultural Education

A young girl learning how to feed a calf.

Yah, I know, if you’re raised on a farm then why would you need 4-H to teach you about agriculture? But the reality is that farm and ranch families make up only about two percent of the U.S. population. How are the remaining 98 percent supposed to learn about where their food comes from? They could just “google it,” but who knows what they might find if they do that! I love agriculture so much because I got to learn about it through 4-H. I learned early that farmers and ranchers love their animals, respect the land and take pride in feeding the world.

With the future of the world in the hands and the heart of our youth, it makes sense to encourage them to become involved in 4-H. I learned some incredibly important life lessons from this special organization.

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