I’ve joked before, about how I have been involved with 4-H since I was an infant; my mother, a 4-H alumni from Freetown Harmony 4-H Club on PEI, brought me to my first 4-H event (a dairy show and sale) when I was just a week old. My formal membership with the program began when I was eight years old when I joined the Lot 18 Seacrest 4-H Club and it immediately became an important part of my life.
Reflecting on my years in 4-H, I shake my head with near disbelief and humble gratitude at the list of incredible experiences I have had; USA National Members Conference in Washington in 2004, Going Global Service Learning in Ghana in 2016, the Global 4-H Network Summit in 2017 to name a few. And I smile when I think about some of the simpler, but totally meaningful club experiences I’ve had; my first club meeting as an eight year old, when all other members were 15 or 16 (they made me feel so cool), our choreographed canine demonstration to “Bad to the Bone” at Achievement Day, painting the community hall our club met in, seeing my 4-Hers give their first speech as a leader.
What is neat is in all cases – local or global, as a member or as a 4-H professional – has provided me opportunities to:
1) Learn so much. I’ve had so many moments of revelation, listening to a speaker, trying new things, honing skills for achievement day or working with peers when a new idea or fact clicked.
2) Build confidence. Those moments of achievement – not always (or even often) from winning, rather from having finished or simply tried, and realizing that I have skills that the community might need me to share.
3) Meet some of the best people I know. I’ve gotten to learn from, collaborate with and laugh with such a variety of talented, contributing and passionate people since I was a young kid. Other members, leaders, colleagues, parents, supporters . . . . I just love ya’ll!
Thank you 4-H, for all of the memories, for all of the lessons and for giving me the place to reflect on them! I can’t wait to #Showmy4HColours this month!