What 4-H Means to Me
By - Emily Cornett
4-H. It is something that has certainly changed my life forever. In the year of 2002 my Mother and Mrs. Lori Hubert became enthused about putting together a 4-H group for Watauga County. Being in 4-H had always been one of my mom's dreams as a child, but somehow she never really had the opportunity to participate in it. It was her hope that maybe we could get the opportunity to enjoy 4-H. It took lots of hard work to get things going. Mama and Mrs. Hubert, along with the help of our 4-H extension agent, Ms. Karee Mackey, organized Appalachian Trailblazers 4-H club of Watauga County.
I started 4-H as a charter member of the club when I was 7 years old and a very shy, less-than outgoing little girl. If there was anything I enjoyed most, it was having animals. At the time, my interest lay only in horses, but my Dad suggested that we participate in the 4-H poultry project group that the Huberts were leading that first year. Although I wasn't crazy about the idea, I went along with it. That spring of my first year of 4-H we ordered 25 Buff Orpington chicks from a hatchery in Iowa. Needless to say, I fell in love with the adorable little fluffy peepers. For over 5 years I participated in 4-H poultry project. I put a great amount of study into knowing more about my poultry. I really dug in and researched something in depth. This is something that I will always appreciate learning how to do. Learning to master a general working knowledge on a subject is a very valuable skill. Slowly but surely 4-H became a large part of my life. Over those 5 years I led several 4-H groups with the help of my parents and in doing so taught several families about the basics of raising poultry. 4-H worked well for our family, we could participate in the project groups and big meetings as a family. During that time I also learned much from holding several offices in the big 4-H club. 4-H began to teach me the aspects of responsibility. Other projects we enjoyed included sheep and gardening. Although I no longer use my poultry as my main
4-H project, still raise a flock of layers each year and our family raises broilers for the freezer.
Now, as I look back at over 9 years of my 4-H career I can see how much 4-H has taught me. 4-H has taught me how to love to learn and how to do my best. As the current second-term president of Appalachian Trailblazers I am still learning so much about working together with a variety of people. The variety of interests that our upcoming 4-Hers have shows me again just how unique and special God made each person. Leadership is something that is not to be taken lightly, but it is something I have come to enjoy. Over the years, I have given many speeches and presentations that have introduced me to the basics of public speaking. Now, as a high-schooler, I am taking speech class, and my 4-H speaking experience is helping me to catch on faster. I have gained a great love for working with and teaching the younger generation. 4-H has also taught me to take time to stop and listen to the advice of those older than myself. 4-H isn't only learning about a project, but it is learning about people. 4-H, for me is learning to appreciate God's great handiwork when he created the human mind. 4-H is learning how to develop that mind in the things that interest it. 4-H is learning to serve others around us with hearts of joy. 4-H is a world of knowledge and fun. Words can't express my gratitude to my parents, who have helped me to open a whole world of knowledge through 4-H; they have put much effort into getting me to the meetings and helping me plan. My project helpers and the many dear friends I have made through 4-H have enriched my life in so many ways. The knowledge 4-H has given me has helped to give me a well-rounded education. As I begin this my 10th, and one of my last years of my 4-H student career, I admonish kids and parents alike to get involved in this wonderful program. 4-H can help us explore the world that God made, and to further understand it. 4-H can make us better educated and more mature. 4-H is loads of fun and is a gateway to friendships. So I encourage you, get involved! Let 4-H help you do your best and learn to love learning.