My 4-H years

A young version of myself at a livestock show with my lamb project, Susie. (Courtesy photo.)

   As we celebrate National 4-H week, I can’t help but reminisce about the years I wore 4-H green. Whether it was attending 4-H summer camp, making new friends across the state of Oklahoma, showing my horse or sheep, judging livestock or standing up giving a demonstration to my club, 4-H was always heavy on the life experiences, lessons and laughter.

   At the time I was donning the cloverleaf emblem, it didn’t occur to me all the life skills I was gaining as a result of being in this leadership organization, but its significance to my personal development is not lost on me now.

   I learned responsibility from taking care of my animals and the all-important phrase: the animals eat before you do. I conquered fears of public speaking early in life and garnered interview skills that would carry me through high school, college and career opportunities in the future. Citizenship and the less fortunate became a primary focus for me and giving back became second nature after years of pledging my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living. I also learned to set goals and follow through with whatever I set my mind to, which includes the tedious task of filling out 4-H record books each summer.

   I didn’t know it then, but it is clear to me now that 4-H creates better humans earlier in life and sets them up for success in the future. They say four-leafed clovers are lucky, and anyone who was privileged enough to sport the green jacket struck it rich with 4-H’s positive impact on young lives. To learn more about 4-H, visit ww.4-h.org.

  Lacey Newlin can be reached at 620-227-1871 or lnewlin@hpj.com.

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