A Touching 4-H Story

Hi All,

I thought I would take some time on this final day of my second to last county fair to share with you a story of someone who I have inspired, and who has inspired me back.

This story is about a boy enrolled in our county 4-H program, he actually lives in the same town with me and we’re part of the same shooting sports club. His mom and I were chatting a week ago, and she said this: “He told me a couple of weeks ago that he wants to get good enough so he can take pictures for the paper like you do. He really admires the pictures that you take. Thanks for being such a good role model for him!! … I know you inspire him!” This year he brought several photos and some visual arts projects to the county fair.

Our county separates visual arts and photography judging from the rest of the county fair, and we have that all judged and displayed at our local mall, and then we bring it over to the county fair and display it with the rest of the exhibits. However, we only award whites, reds, blues, and purples at the mall. The rosettes of alternate state fair, state fair, and top award are a secret until the opening day of the county fair we call these orange dots, because we award them an orange dot signifying that they are different from the rest of the photos.

The boy got several orange dots and was pretty excited at the mall. I told him good luck when I saw him. That night as the judges were making their selections, I saw that his made state fair. Mind you, no one except the judges, superintendents, and I knew the rosette placings. That’s the night I started talking with his mom about doing a workshop for their club, and ultimately how I got his story that inspired me.

It didn’t dawn on me that something like that could have such an impact on a 4-Her. Yes, I knew state fair was extremely exciting, but how he reacted really touched my heart. His mom told me, “He is SO EXCITED!!!!! He couldn’t believe it when he seen it!!” When I ran into her the other night, she said how he stood standing, staring at his photo with his mouth wide open in awe for like 5 minutes. THAT is what I want EVERY 4-Her to experience at least once in their 4-H careers, that is the 4-H moment.

As 1 of 40 state council members, representing the statewide Iowa 4-H program to the 4-H members, and with my impressive 4-H career of attending the 2013 National 4-H Conference in Washington DC, the 2009 esri International Users Conference, along with all of the other conferences I’ve attended and presented at and all the other 4-H events and activities that I helped lead, it’s stories like this that really make me remember where I was just 7 years ago today that have made me who I am today.