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Posted: October 3, 2010 12:00 a.m.

4-H'er reflects on experiences

Every fifth-grader in Newton County is required to participate in 4-H as part of their school experience. Even in this beginning stage, there are many opportunities for the 4-Hers to show animals, compete in judging events, and participate in fun outings like Skate Night.

However, the only thing that interested 10-year-old me was the project competition 4-H is famous for. I didn’t really care to make a poster and give a four to five minute speech, actually. I was in it for the performing arts competition, the project area that only requires a short performance, which can be anything from singing a song to dancing to playing an instrument. This wouldn’t be too difficult for me, I thought. Ten-year-old me was destined to be a star.

After winning the "Performing Arts: Vocal" project at both the county and district levels, I felt that 4-H was over for me. Summer camp at Rock Eagle would be my final 4-H event, and then I would go home and never think twice about it on my quest for stardom. That all changed one day in March when my 4-H agent, Miss Sarah, leaned over my shoulder during one of our meetings and said "You know, you should really try out for Clovers and Company."

I asked her what Clovers and Company was.

"It’s the 4-H performing arts group," she replied, and she didn’t have to say another word. I auditioned for the group that summer, knowing virtually nothing about it except that I would be able to perform. There was only one catch: I would have to stay in 4-H to be a part of the group, and that I did.

Five years later, I’m still active in 4-H, and I still participate in Clovers and Company, but that’s certainly not the only thing I’ve gotten into on my 4-H journey. Now, I have won dozens of awards, participated on the Northwest District Junior Board of Officers, performed at the Georgia National Fair, earned a spot on the state 4-H technology team, participated in poultry and consumer judging, served as a Teen Leader at summer camp, sung for legislators at Georgia’s capitol building, and become a Master 4-Her by winning my project area at the state level (this time, it was a poster project), among many other exciting opportunities.

I have traveled all over the state and country meeting 4-Hers not so close to home, and I have made hundreds of fabulous new friends.

After Thanksgiving, I will embark on what promises to be my best 4-H experience yet, National Congress in Atlanta, where 4-Hers from almost every state in the nation will accompany me in learning more about our club and making the best better.

Things have changed a lot since fifth grade. Singing is more of a hobby for me now; my quest for superstardom is long over. As a sophomore in high school, I’ve started to think about my future more and more, and since the age of ten, my interests have gone from life on the big stage to architectural design to authoring books and every category in between. Of course, my dreams will change from now until I go to college, and that’s perfectly fine with me. I have confidence that my 4-H experience will help me through any goal I set out to accomplish, large or small.

I have pledged my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world, and I will not go back on that promise.

The Covington News will be running a story every day this week in honor of 4-H Week.

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